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Wake School Board Revises Plans Due to Bond Rejection

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RALEIGH — TheWake County School Boardmay take some drastic measures in the aftermath of this week'sschool bond defeat. Thursday night the board met for the first time since Tuesday's vote, and discussed capping enrollments, busing kids far from their homes, and making big schedule changes.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that some western Wake County schools that many thought were well beyond the drawing board, have now been erased.

Still stinging from Tuesday's overwhelming bond defeat, the first item of business for school board members was to cut.

Immediately, 10 of 28 approved facility projects were scrapped. Among them were three schools that many people assumed were already paid for. Jenks Road Middle School and Yates Mill and West Lake/Optimist Elementary Schools will not open as planned in 2000.

"The bottom line was schools that people said had been built previously, had not been built nor funded," said Dr. Jim Surratt, superintendent of Wake County Schools.

School leaders say the next step will be to deal with the crisis of overcrowding that already exists, and now they have to do it without the backing of bonds.

"We will soon put out information that will call for a request for them to be capped at about 130 percent of their capacity," Surratt said.

"There will possibly be mandatory year-rounding going on," said Roxie Cash, the School Board chairman. "I have a good sense that at least two of our high schools will be in double sessions."

Surratt says the county must shift its priorities now that the school bond has been defeated. He says at top of the list must be the health and safety of students, followed by finding classrooms for all of them.

The tens of thousands of voters who helped defeat the school bond agree with the notion, "There is a better way." Many Wake County residents are logging on to offer their alternatives.

TheWeb siteand telephone number set up by the school system have been besieged by bond opponents and supporters.

The telephone number is(919) 850-1611.