Local/State

Wake County voters decide school bond issue Tuesday

Monday, October 07, 2013

Voters in Wake County will decide whether or not to approve an $810,000,000 school bond Tuesday.

The massive bond includes plans to build more than a dozen new schools in the state's largest school district.  

Wake County leaders have repeatedly said that the student count is only going up, so this proposed bond is needed now, but not all agree.

ABC11 spoke to some Wake County voters and found it hard to find anybody preparing to vote no to the $810,000,000 school bond that will be on the ballot Tuesday.

"Yeah we need new schools...schools are overpopulated, kids come into the world every day," said voter Gerald Ragland.

"I think it's very well needed...there's a lot of kids, we're definitely going to need more schools as we grow and grow," added fellow voter Marti Keeney.

Overcrowding is just one of many reasons school board members are also on board. They have said in past interviews that they project another 20,000 new students will enroll within five years. They say we need to make room and update schools for kids already enrolled, if not with this money then possibly with more of tax payer's money. They believe the county will find another way to fund the schools if the bond does not pass.

"We're at capacity in schools now and we need more schools, we're going to have more children coming in the future so we're going to need more schools, we need to keep up," said voter John Vicaaro who has two children currently in school.

Some argue the timing is wrong and the county does not need the money now, saying there is space in schools not being used. Publicly against this bond are the Wake County Republican Party and Tax Payers Association.

"Even if the number of students does continue to increase, we don't see an immediate or near future need for additional buildings or additional seats," said Wake County Taxpayers Association's Ed Jones.

"This is not a good time to create additional debt and burden taxpayers with additional taxes," he added.

Jones said schools can use what they have now and ask for a bond five years from now if that 20,000 student increase projection comes true.

"They have come close to getting those projections correctly," said Wake County School Board Member Jim Martin.

As leaders continue to argue these points, the end argument will be up to the voter on Tuesday.

The school bond is not the only big item on the ballot, Raleigh residents will also vote on a $75,000,000 transportation bond and Mayor McFarlane is up for re-election.

In Cary, residents will be able to vote on filling three open town council seats.


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