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JeffC

Wake County Public Schools and growth

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I would think most parents would want their kids to go to school year round.

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When I have kids, I'll certainly want them in year round schools. Statistics show that kids retain more things they learn in school when they don't have such a long break during the summer.

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Here is Bob Geary's take on the Manning ruling. This mess just makes my head spin. The bottom line is parents need to stop thinking just for their own selfish interests and consider the consequences. I bet those Wake CARES :rolleyes: parents had a huge party after the ruling... high fives all around folks; we might have just ruined one of the best school systems in the nation! Yeaaahhhh!

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Hmm.. I'm confused, are we in Wake County or in Durham. I'd love to see the Board with fund-raising authority so they wouldn't have to work with the county commissioners. I agree with chief though, this makes your head spin.. I'm glad we don't have any children (yet :rolleyes: Maybe by then we'll decide to homeschool or hit the lottery and be able to send them to private school.

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Hmm.. I'm confused, are we in Wake County or in Durham.

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Heh....I tell you what, if I had kids right now, I'd pick up and move to Durham simply to avoid all this mess.

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Its amazing how political education gets. I say if the Wake School Board proposes year-round schools and increasing spending $$$ on school infrastructure this is a good thing. WAKE Cares sounds like a bunch of bored troglodytes that need something to complain and/or fight about. If it wasn't this then it would be abortion, the trans fat in fast food, electronic signs in Cary, some Spanish guy's art, the cost of stamps, planes landing in DT Raleigh etc. etc. etc.

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Thousands of kids have already been assigned to year round schools. There is a precedent that the board of education can do this. The parents of those students, mostly in SE Raleigh and other poorer areas, accept the reality of school construction lagging behind the exploding student population.

The scariest part of the Manning ruling is that it says kids who don't have rich parents to file a lawsuit can be forced into year round schools without parental concent, but kids of parents who bought a cheap house in Apex and have yet to contribute much to the tax base to build new schools for their part of the county can not.

The wake cares camp backs up their claim of year round being unnecessary by pointing out that enrollment is decreased by students moving out of Wake County or enrolling in private schools. This is true, but the reality that matters is there will be a *net* gain of 8,000 students this fall, and there won't be enough desks for the increase.

We'll probably have a rugrat or two eventually, and I have faith in the Wake County Public School system, as it is a model the rest of the country looks to. I'd rather have a child in a year round school than a trailer any day. I'd also appreciate teachers being allowed to teach, instead of teaching to tests mandated by policies like "every child left behind" or suffer at the hands of politicians making bad policy decisions in exchange for campaign contributions.

When I went to NCSSM in the early 90s, the city/county merger in Durham was not going so well, but things seem to have improved since.

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Its amazing how political education gets. I say if the Wake School Board proposes year-round schools and increasing spending $$$ on school infrastructure this is a good thing. WAKE Cares sounds like a bunch of bored troglodytes that need something to complain and/or fight about. If it wasn't this then it would be abortion, the trans fat in fast food, electronic signs in Cary, some Spanish guy's art, the cost of stamps, planes landing in DT Raleigh etc. etc. etc.

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As long as we have Paul Coble on the County Commissioners Board, we will have a really hard time getting anything accomplished in Wake County. NOt only is he anti-everything, he causes formerly moderate Republicans like Gurley (who I liked in his first term) to move to the right to cater to the rabid anti-tax crowd. Check out this story from the N&O on the vote the other night to give the schools $6 million extra:

Michael Biesecker, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Commissioner Joe Bryan said "Yea" so softly as he broke party lines on Monday to give the Wake schools a $24.9 million funding bump that the microphone barely registered the sound.

But the vote spoke loudly about what Bryan, a Republican from Wendell, considers important.

He sided with three Democrats to grant the schools money beyond a more modest increase proposed by County Manager David Cooke.

The bipartisan coalition set the county's property tax rate for the next fiscal year at 67.8 cents per $100 of assessed value -- 4.4 cents over the current rate and an increase of $88 per year on a $200,000 home.

Bryan kept quiet during the debate leading to the decision but in an interview afterward said he voted his conscience over political expediency. "The easiest thing for me to do would have been to vote for the manager's budget," Bryan said. "I did what I thought was the right thing to do."

Cooke, the county manager, had proposed increasing the county property tax rate by 3.6 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

In a separate vote Monday, that 3.6-cent increase was supported by Republican commissioners Tony Gurley and Kenn Gardner. Paul Coble voted "nay" -- as he did on every spending proposal.

But school officials said Cooke's proposed bump, which would net the system about $18.9 million over current funding levels, was not enough.

In its budget for 2008, the Wake school board asked for an additional $29.9 million to help pay for 8,000 new students expected to enroll in the fall and to cover the county's share of a state pay raise for teachers.

More recently, school system administrators realized they needed another $1.8 million in new money because the legislature had changed the teacher-funding formulas.

That worked out to a total gap of about $12.8 million between Cooke's recommendation and the school system's estimated need.

Bryan said his intent in joining the board's Democrats -- Betty Lou Ward, Lindy Brown and Harold Webb -- was to meet the school board halfway.

"It's a good compromise," Wake school Superintendent Del Burns said of the result. "It recognizes the fact that we are facing growth. But it was a very lean budget request to begin with."

The vote still leaves the schools with an unfunded gap of up to $6.8 million.

Burns said administrators won't have enough time by the school board meeting scheduled today to recommend how to make up the shortfall. Instead, system administrators will ask the school board to adopt an interim budget resolution to allow them to operate schools and pay salaries until a final decision is made.

The day's debate began with Gurley, the board chairman, pushing the commissioners to vote on each spending change, rather than a single vote on the entire budget.

That led to Bryan's siding with the Democrats on another 4-3 vote, upholding a $750,000 spending recommendation to help Raleigh's Police Department purchase equipment needed to use a new countywide emergency radio system.

"Public safety is a Republican issue, right?" Bryan said after his GOP colleagues voted against the radios.

After ending up on the losing side of the school funding and radio votes, Gurley tried to undo all the budget votes. That included his support for Cooke's 3.6-cent tax increase, an hour earlier.

"I want to disapprove the whole budget as unacceptable to me," Gurley said.

That prompted an exasperated Ward, who was not at the meeting but participated by telephone, to exclaim: "Oh my God! Are you kidding me?"

"I think we're losing the connection," Gurley, smiling broadly, replied. to the Democrat's disembodied voice.

Gurley's motion was voted down 5-2, with Coble joining in.

After a story in Saturday's News & Observer said Bryan was considering voting with the Democrats, the commissioner said he received scores of calls from constituents -- some urging him to support the school board and others calling him a turncoat to no-new-tax conservative values.

Bryan, who earns his living as a financial planner, said he sees spending on the schools as a sound investment in Wake County's future.

"My dad had a sixth-grade education, and my mom had an eighth-grade education," Bryan explained. "A college degree meant a lot to me. Education means a lot to me. ...

"Whatever party you're associated with, our duty [as elected officials] is to all 780,000 citizens of Wake County to make the best decisions possible. We've got a very good school system. We need to nurture that."

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Jeff, I agree completely. I already sent Bryan an email letting him know he showed real political courage with his action on Monday and it means a lot to a lot of people. I'm sure he got some angry messages too. I said last Nov, Koopman's loss to Coble was one of the biggest negatives to happen to the county, as it would have given the commissioners a clear direction with regards to growth funding and other progressive issues. Paul Coble has never done much of anything that I can see for this area and ought to be considered enemy #1 for most folks who champion urban or progressive issues.

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Paul Coble has never done much of anything that I can see for this area and ought to be considered enemy #1 for most folks who champion urban or progressive issues.

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I think it's safe to say anyone who remembers his term as mayor does indeed consider him that. <_<

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As a Democratic activist...

The problem with beating Coble, or any other neanderthal-thinking Republican, is finding good Democratic challengers. There is plenty of money and support out there, but not enough good people want to make the effort to be on the County Commission or School Board.

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As a Democratic activist...

The problem with beating Coble, or any other neanderthal-thinking Republican, is finding good Democratic challengers. There is plenty of money and support out there, but not enough good people want to make the effort to be on the County Commission or School Board.

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I read this article this morning and thought it was a good topic for discussion here.

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1833319/

Unless you live under a rock, it should be no surprise to anyone around here that there is an ongoing issue with the growth of Wake County and the public school system. As for the article, I don't blame the property owner who did not accept a bid by WCPSS that was below appraisal. Personally, I do not understand why WCPSS can not think outside of the box and get more creative with their development.

We discuss urbanism and smart growth in this forum and I'm sure others have ideas on how to better plan for this growth. Rather than raise taxes to give the school system the ability to buy these large parcels, why not redesign schools to occupy less space??? Can WCPSS not purchase 25 acres instead of 45 acres and build a more compact, vertical school? Elementary schols are now 2 floors, why not 3 floors? High Schools are 4 floors now, why not 5? Less land...more students per school...

What do others think?

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I guess the land using portion of the site plan are atheletic fields and parking. Building footprints would probably take up 5 acres or less. I know I would not want to go to a school that did not have a football/soccer/track area and a baseball field. Sometimes shared facilities is mentioned but that is crappy for the teams and logisitcs are a huge pain. As for parking...well, you could reduce it to faculty only...students do not have to park on campus..but then events, sports, plays etc need parking too.....in properly designed cities though you get a school where people live closer and are not so car reliant and these issues would dissipate alot, but given the current land-use situation county wide some amount of parking is needed. So fields say 10 acres in all, parking 2 acres and un buildable buffers and setbacks often eat another 5ish acres......I am adding up to 25 or so acres.....would be interesting to see a proposed site plan posted here if anyone can find one....

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It's interesting the article mentioned the Reedy Creek schools (right around the corner from me). In my book that school is the poster child for what I don't like about modern school construction: they're anti-pedestrian. The parcel is fairly narrow and deep, but instead of putting the buildings near the road they stuck them at the very back so that any kid trying to walk to school has a much longer walk. It's an anti-urban design. It just exacerbates the problem of every kid having to be driven or bussed to school even if they live right around the corner! And we wonder why there's an epidemic of childhood obesity!

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We discuss urbanism and smart growth in this forum and I'm sure others have ideas on how to better plan for this growth. Rather than raise taxes to give the school system the ability to buy these large parcels, why not redesign schools to occupy less space??? Can WCPSS not purchase 25 acres instead of 45 acres and build a more compact, vertical school? Elementary schols are now 2 floors, why not 3 floors? High Schools are 4 floors now, why not 5? Less land...more students per school...

What do others think?

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I sent to Wake Forest-Rolesville and graduated back in 1992. At that time it had just finished up its third buildout since it first occupied the site in the 1970 sometime I think. Anyway, since I graduated it looks like one or two more expansions have taken place and the school is quite the creative use of space to say the least...and pretty close to the street...100 feet or so. The main building is three stories tall and looks more like an office building imo. The auditorium and both gyms (yep, two) are slammed right up against the classrooms, the larger gym has locker room in the basement which I thought was cool. Including rented parking for seniors the site could not possibly be 45 acres...looks more like 25ish to me, and its a 4A school.

Edit: ok the site is actually 55 acres but includes lots of unbuildable wetlands along Richland Creek....the buildable area is more like between 25-30 acres. Here are pictures from Wake County that show how dense the buildings are.

Not sure if this aerial photo will post the way I want it to but it shows how compact everything is actually.....ok hit "aerial photography" , third down in the list and it will show up if anyone is interested.

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I certainly would be in favor of a reduction in athletic facilities. (Of course, I was always one of those students who felt that most of the jocks were obnoxious jerks who needed to be knocked down off their pedestal...but that's another post for another day. -_- )

Afterall...if Shaw University's football team can travel all the way to Durham County Stadium for their games, is it too much to ask near high schools on the same end of town to share theirs together? I mean, I thought academics is still the main reason we even have schools in this country, right?

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If there are building codes limiting building height, closeness to the street grid, etc. they really need to be updated for the 21st century. Moore Square Magnet Middle School was a good first attempt, but shouldn't be the last either. What body could make those changes? The school board? County Commissioners? The state General Assembly? Easy changes like that should be a no brainer.

There also needs to be more creative solutions for facility sharing. Let them have two practice fields, but work with parks and recreation to make them avaiable to everyone when the school isn't using them. Now that the Brier Creek school/community center has been open a while, the city and county can learn what worked and what did not. The same applies to tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, weight roooms, swimming pools, etc.. Shared football/baseball/softball stadiums is something that should be done going forward. It makes more sense to have these associated with schools than Horseshoe Farm park.

Athens Drive High School has/had a public library inside. With the growing population, the need for libraries, especially on the outskirts, will continue to rise. That can't be done at every school, but will help with some.

However, not adding to existing schools will set up a two-tier system similar to the city/county structure that was abolished decades ago. How far will that be expanded? Older schools getting "hand me down" comptuers, or none at all? This will make the new subdivisions attached to the new schools all the more attractive to families, which will further segregate neighborhoods by age.

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