Wake Commissioners Approve School Bond Proposal
Posted May 17, 2006 6:54 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Wake County commissioners gave the nod Wednesday to a $1.06 billion school bond on the November ballot. At the same time, both commissioners and school board members acknowledge other funding sources need to be pursued, because they say this bond is just the beginning.
Wake Officials, Critics Divided On Consequences If Bond Issue Doesn't Pass
On Wednesday, the board pitched its plan and a majority of Wake County commissioners were on board.
"The $1 billion, $55 million is the first down payment in a bond program that's going to go forward over the next 10 years," said county commissioner Tony Gurley. "I look to see bonds every two years to meet the needs of the school system."
Leaders want voters to know the current proposal is just the beginning of a construction plan to accommodate massive growth.
The plan calls for 16 to 20 year-round schools, instead of the original plan of 50. Still, the proposal comes with compromise. The plan will actually increase modular classrooms by 75 units instead of the school board's goal of reducing mobile classrooms.
County commissioner Phil Jeffreys does not support the bond and is not even willing to say he will not oppose it.
"I think we need to do everything we can to save taxpayers' money and that (means) kindergarten through 12 year-round schools," he said.
After weeks and hours of debate, the board chose a bond of just over $1 billion on Tuesday. Many parents liked the bond because it will mean the reduction of the number of elementary schools that would become mandatory year-round.
"I think this board is attuned to the needs of parents, and I really think the proposal on the table is acknowledging that mandatory year-round is not what our parent community wants and we've heard that loud and clear," said school board member Carol Parker.
"I think we will all get behind this, get people out there to support the bond. That's what is most important," said parent Graham Satisky.
County commissioners will have to decide whether to split the bond up or try and have it approved by voters in a lump amount. A citizens committee is also being formed to help sell the bond to voters.