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Solutions For Wake Schools Come With Hefty Price Tag

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County leaders are considering several possible solutions to help manage the public school system's growth -- all of which will have an impact on county residents' taxes.

Based on the scenarios discussed Wednesday by the Wake County Board of Education and Board of Commissioners members, a Wake County homeowner would have to pay about 7 cents to 11 cents more per $100 assessed value on the home, depending on the scenario chosen.

The groups are currently looking at three possible options, ranging from $1.37 billion to $1.97 billion, for a bond referendum in November. The options differ, based on the number of new schools to be built in Wake County and whether those schools will be on a year-round schedule. All of the options involve some conversion of existing schools to year-round.

"Is there going to be a large bond package? Absolutely. Our growth is large," said Patti Head, chairwoman of the Wake County school board.

County commissioners and school board members admit that raising property taxes are not a popular option, so they are trying to reduce the bond amount by implementing goals over 10 years instead of four.

"One of the goals is to have 92 percent of the children in permanent brick-and-mortar seats," said Tony Gurley, chairman of the Wake County Commission. "Currently, we are running an elementary school with 76 percent of children in permanent seats. By slowing down progress for the goal, you actually save some money."

The decision on the bond amount will not be made until May.


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