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Wake Passes Largest Spending Plan, Rejects Tax Increase

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Wake County commissioners have approved a $564 million budget; $281 million is slated for schools -- a 7 percent increase over last year.(WRAL-TV5 News)
RALEIGH — Wake County commissioners unanimously approved the 2000-2001 budget on Monday without increasing property taxes.

The county's largest spending plan -- $564 million -- required most county divisions to reevaluate their spending needs, particularly Wake County Schools.

Originally, the school board requested an $11 million increase in its budget and a two-cent property tax increase to improve instruction for schools.

The commission said no to a tax increase.

Instead, Wake County Schools will transfer $7 million dollars from its capital budget, which is used to build, renovate and maintain schools. The commission approved this one-time transfer as a way to meet immediate school operating needs.

"They're being very fiscally responsible, looking at the funds that we've already given them," says commissioner Yevonne Brannon. "We've asked them to look at that, and we've given them flexibility. They are using that. They're setting priorities that place an emphasis on kids and student performance and teacher pay and programs right now versus the long-term capital."

"We hope it will work, at least for the time being," says commission chairperson Bety Lou Ward. "It's not the way that we normally do business, but by the same token, when the two boards can put their heads together and agree on something, then hopefully it will work."

Although discussion is in the preliminary stages, there will probably be a bond referendum for school construction. The bond -- which could be on ballots this spring -- might total $600 million.



Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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