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Unclear what happens if voters reject Wake Co. school financing

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Wake County Schools said more than 19,000 extra students will flood their classrooms by 2017.  That's why the system said an $810 million bond is so critical, to pay for new schools and renovations to existing ones.

The bond would finance 16 new schools, including two high schools, three middle schools and 11 elementary schools.  It would also take care of major renovations at six more schools. 

If approved by county voters, taxes would go up 5.53 cents per every $100 of assessed value.  For the average Wake County home, that would mean an extra $145 in taxes a year.

Wake Schools is counting on voters to make it happen.  It's unclear what would happen if they don't approve it.

"It would put the entire county in a tight spot when it comes to crowding of schools and meeting the needs of our students," Wake Schools Assistant Superintendent of Facilities Joe Desormeaux said.

Not everyone buys that line.  Ed Jones, chairman of the board of directors for the Wake County Taxpayer Association, said new charter schools and more students going to private schools should help limit growth.

"I feel like they need to go back to some of these excellent math classes they claim to be teaching in Wake County and get some new lessons in math," Jones said.

The Wake County School Board originally wanted a bond of more than $2 billion in order to make extensive renovations and reduce existing overcrowding.

"Instead, we've reduced that need to match only the growth, the absolute minimum necessary," Desormeaux said.

That means so-called modular classrooms, also known as trailers, are not going anywhere.

"We're not able to renovate the schools that we need to renovate," School board member Jim Martin said, "so no, we're not really addressing the trailer issue.  We're looking at bare bones renovation."

Voters will have their say on Oct. 8.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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