Wake County Schools

Schools, county vow to work together on spending issues

Posted January 15, 2014 11:15 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2014 11:01 a.m. EST

— Wake County schools and county commissioners are at odds over the school district's spending habits just months after both bodies worked together to help pass a large school building bond.

“We have not had cooperation since the bond passing,” said Wake County Commissioner Vice-Chairman Tony Gurley. “Such as a land purchase the school system was going to go forward with that we thought was too high.”

Gurley and school board chairwoman Christine Kushner discussed the issue during WakeUp Wake County's annual meeting. WakeUp is a non-profit that aims to be a “voice for people who believe we need to plan well for growth, development, and healthy vibrant communities in Wake County,” according to their website.

Kushner defended the district’s school-building methods during the meeting.

“Building schools on a good budget, that is the process I am laying out,” she said.

School leaders, who pointed to money saved with their school design choices, warn that delaying new school construction over disagreements with the county could be costly.

“We are going to miss deadlines and it could cost more in construction to hit those deadlines,” said school board member Kevin Hill.

Hill is hopeful things won’t come to that. Kushner believes relationships could improve soon.

“It is now time for the board and county to work together to build schools,” she said.

Commissioners were on the losing end of an effort last year to grab school construction control from the district - an effort they took to the General Assembly.

“We wasted time and money and I do not anticipate doing that,” Gurley said.

The first meeting between the leadership of the school board and commissioners to discuss working together will happen on Friday. It will be a closed-door meeting.