$810 million bond measure divides Wake County school board candidates
By Kayla McCann
Wake County, North Carolina: On October 8, the Wake County Public School System will be holding an election for four school board seats. Three incumbents and five challengers are running for the open seats on the board of the largest school district in North Carolina. The four seats up for election will be subject to new term limits due to a recent measure passed by the North Carolina state legislature. Beginning this October, new terms of office for school board members will be implemented in 2016. Until that time, terms beginning in January 2014 and after will last three instead of four years.
In addition to the school board election, Wake County residents will vote on a school bond referendum. The $810 million bond measure, if approved, will allow the school district to borrow money to build and renovate schools and to purchase technology for classrooms. The bond measure would cover most of the cost of a $939.9 million construction project that includes 16 new schools, six major renovation projects, lesser repairs at 79 district schools and other miscellaneous projects. Proponents of the school bond argue it will provide necessary updates to district facilities and infrastructure, but critics insist that the planned construction costs for the new schools are excessive. They have also argued that the district's enrollment projections are unreliable, which could mean that fewer new seats will be required than currently suggested by district leadership. This issue has divided candidates in two voting districts in the upcoming election. Don McIntyre and Matt Scruggs, candidates from Districts 1 and 2 respectively, do not support the bond issue. Their opponents, Tom Benton and Monika Johnson-Hostler, do support the construction bond. All the candidates in Districts 7 and 9 support the bond referendum.
- T. Keung Hui, News Observer, "Wake school board member Tom Benton to run for election this fall," July 3, 2013
- T. Keung Hui, News Observer, "Renovations vs. new schools: What's in Wake's bond plan?," September 21, 2013
- T. Keung Hui, News Observer, "Wake superintendent defends school bond issue," September 27, 2013
- Paul A. Specht, News Observer, "School board candidates argue over Eastern Wake issues," September 20, 2013