Local/State

Wake Schools attendance exceeds expectations

Friday, September 13, 2013

Administrators revealed a key part of the $810 million Wake County school bond Thursday. The school system says it has nearly 500 more students than anticipated.

As voters prepare to decide on the bond next month, people on both sides of the issue are keeping a close eye on enrollment numbers.

Wake County Schools released 10-day enrollment numbers Friday. The district currently has over 153,000 students.

Leaders anticipated an extra 3,100 this year, but since the district has well exceeded that figure, bond supporters say new schools and updates can't wait.

"They are so maxed out with temporary classrooms, you can't expand anymore and you've created a learning environment that really is not the best for safety, teaching, for anything," said Wake County School Board Member Jim Martin.

The district anticipates 20,000 new students by 2018. The bond would pay for 16 new schools, six major renovations, and technology upgrades.

"They have come amazingly close to hitting those projections correctly, so barring any depression, recession, I think those numbers are a pretty good estimate," Martin said.

But in a recovering economy, the Wake County Taxpayers Association can't justify the tax increase for property owners.

"This is not a good time to create additional debt for the county and the city and it's not a good time to burden the taxpayers with additional taxes," Wake County Taxpayers Association's Ed Jones  said.

Jones said the district has enough space and modular units now to make do for another five years. He's calling into question the price tag for some of the major renovations.

"We are for repairing and remodeling the buildings that need to be done. We think the one of the most important thing one can do is maintain their property. And the school system has not done a good job in the past in maintaining the property. That's why some of the buildings are so poor," Jones said.

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north carolina news, wake county news, wake county schools, local/state, heather waliga
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