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Wake Teachers, Taxpayers Give Their Two Cents on Proposed Property Tax Increase

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RALEIGH — Wake County Schoolsneeds more teachers and more money to pay for them. County commissioners are considering raising property taxes, but are Wake County residents willing to pay more?

Teachers and educators packed a Wake County Commission public hearing on the budget to push a two-cent property tax increase.

Educators say the tax hike would generate $11 million.

"Our children, there are so many that are not at grade level and the additional two cents would give us more resources to meet their needs and bring us to our goal," says teacher Julie Nau.

That goal is to have at least 95 percent of all Wake County students passing the required end of grade test by 2003.

"In a democracy, education is the most important thing we have," says teacher Melissa Juhan.

The children coming to Wake County's schools outnumber the amount of money the county has to spend on them. Yet some people are not ready to give up even a few pennies.

A handful of people who attended Monday's meeting say they do not support a tax hike.

"You're getting enough of our money," says George Edward Jones. "The problem isn't enough money. The problem is how the money is utilized and how it is being spent."

Wake County now spends about $5,400 per student. That number will jump to a little more than $5,700 next school year.

With student enrollment steadily increasing, county commissioners say the tax hike could be a viable option. Another option is a multi-million dollar bond package put together after last year's failed bond vote.

Commissioners expect to make a decision by June 19.

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Ken Smith, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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