RALEIGH, N.C. — (Nov. 7) Wake County voters embraced a fiercely debated $970 million school-construction bond package that public school system leaders said they needed to help accommodate a booming student population.
The bond was one of the most-watched races of the election year, with very vocal opponents organizing efforts to stop the bond because of a property tax increase and mandatory year-round schools.
Opponents argued that a failed bond would force school and county leaders to consider alternatives, but school leaders argued that those options are not immediate enough.
The bond package will allow 17 new schools to open between 2008 and 2011, major renovations to happen at 13 existing schools and about workers to undertake 100 smaller repair jobs. It will also help cover six new ninth-grade centers to ease overcrowding at high schools and buy land to build 13 additional schools from 2011 to 2013.
More than 128,000 students were enrolled in the Wake County Public School System for the 2006-2007 school year—an increase of 7,556 students from the previous year—putting it on track to become the largest school system in North Carolina.