All those students

September 17, 2012 

More students on the bus, literally and figuratively. That’s the situation in Wake County, North Carolina’s largest school district and a place where the growth just keeps on keeping on, even when the economy sours. The system last week reported a yearly gain of 3,160 students, for a total of 149,528. Projections are that by the benchmark 20th day of classes on Sept. 24, the gain could top 4,000.

Putting enough buses on the road – which the system initially failed to do this year in a misguided effort to scrimp by with a smaller fleet – is just one of the challenges. A more substantial one is providing enough classrooms. Toward that end, school officials are angling for a construction bond issue, ideally next year.

It’s easy to see the point at which academic quality will be degraded unless space needs are met. County commissioners who set bond referendums understandably want to keep taxes down, but school buildings are just about the best investment Wake residents can be asked to make.

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