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Wake School Board Threatens Suit Against Commissioners

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RALEIGH — The Wake County School Board says its 1997budget simply won't work, and board members are fighting for millions ofextra dollars.

In a move that's the first of its kind, the school board isthreatening to sue the county commissioners to get the money it says itneeds.

Green Elementary School in Raleigh has a problem. PrincipalCaroline Massengill pointed out two first-grade classrooms adjacent toeachother -- without a wall separating them. She's upset by funding problemsin Wake County schools.

Massengill's school needs walls. It is just one project in oneschool, but there is no money for it. Dr. JohnGilbert, a school board member, says the money that thecounty is setting aside for schools justwill not do.

In an historic move this afternoon, the school board voted tochallange the county commisssioners. That will force the county to sitdown and try toiron out the numbers.

Stewart Adcock, chairman of the Wake County commissioners, responded thisafternoonsaying, "I don't think we can ever furnish them all they want. Theyshould be able to work with what we gave them. There's a big differencebetween what they want and what they need."

But you can't convince the principal at Green Elementary that she doesn'tneed walls.

School board members say that if a compromise is not reached, it is likelythat the school board will take the county commissioners to court.