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Lawmakers Seek Ways to Fund New Schools Statewide

State lawmakers are studying a number of options to help fund $10 billion needed to accommodate school growth across the state.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Could a statewide school construction bond help school systems across North Carolina deal with student population growth?

"That's the best way to get support to those areas where they're not going to raise money," said Rep. Jeff Barnhart, R-Cabarrus. "Let's face it: If there's not money in a county, it's kind of hard to raise it."

The bond is one of several options that members of the state House Select Committee on Public School Funding is studying to help fund an estimated $10 billion needed to cover school growth.

Another proposed option is local impact fees and land-transfer taxes. Although that plan could generate hundreds of millions of dollars, it is not popular with the developers, real estate agents and home-buyers.

"That's a fee on the developer," said Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie. "That starts out the throw, but that developer's only going to pass it on down the line."

Other school-funding ideas include local-option sales tax for all counties, a streamlined code approval process for schools and a sales tax exemption for school building materials and equipment. Each option would require local approval.

"Every county is going to have to evaluate its own needs and what the people say," said Rep. Linda Coleman, D-Wake.


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