Local News

Wake School Board Considers Leasing Schools From Developers

Posted January 10, 2006 7:39 a.m. EST

— Overcrowded schools and very little money for school construction are pushing Wake County school leaders to come up with new ideas on how to ease the school system's booming growth.

Voters will decide on a school bond in November, but beyond that, school leaders want to figure out how to get more schools built faster. One proposal is for developers to construct schools, but it would require a change in state law.

If developers would build schools with new subdivisions, the school system could have more schools where parents want them -- in their neighborhoods. The school system, however, would want to lease the buildings from developers with an option to eventually purchase the building.

Right now, state law does not allow that. So, Wake County Board of Education members want to convince lawmakers to change the rules, or at least provide an exception for Wake County.

The idea has never been officially introduced to the General Assembly.

Whether developers and the school board could agree on leasing/purchase terms is also up for question.

Four years ago, a Cary developer agreed to donate a school, but Cary and Wake County officials debated over the terms. It is still under negotiation.

One option that is already legal is for school systems to lease a building and turn it into a school.