Now that the chairs of both the Wake County school board and county commission have made passing a new school bond one of their top priorities, we should look at the recent history of school construction financing.
The 2006 school bond was proposed on the assumption that school enrollment would grow 46,958 to 174,471 by the start of the 2012-13 school year. In actuality, the enrollment on day 20 of the 2012-13 year was 149,508. That is a shortfall of 24,963 from the 2006 bond assumptions. From this, it appears the $970 million bond was excessive.
The school board owes the taxpayers a detailed accounting of how the $970 million was to have been spent in the 2006 plan compared to how it was actually spent. It needs to account for how many seats were actually added vs. planned, and how much was spent on upgrades and repairs.
Taxpayers should not be burdened with the tax increases and cost of any additional bonds on top of the $1.9 billion school bonds and other debt outstanding, until much better cost control, accountability and transparency for the use of taxpayers’ money is in place.
We all want the children to have good schools. However, we also want accountability as to how the construction monies are spent.