Gurley's tepid 'support' for Wake's school bond

September 16, 2013 

Speaking to a local conservative, anti-tax group last week, Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley was still angry about the Republican commissioners’ failure to get state lawmakers to approve a measure that would have given commissioners control of school construction and property. The school board is now run by Democrats, thanks to discord sown by Republicans who controlled the board from 2009 to 2011.

Republican commissioners, who run that board, are mad that the Democrats regained control of the school board, so in a show of partisan payback, they got Republican lawmakers to take up a bill that would have given them control of school construction. It was an entirely unnecessary move; the school board has done just fine managing the property of the system.

The bill began as a statewide measure that would have given all boards of commissioners the authority the Wake commissioners wanted. It failed to gain enough support, apparently because local boards of commissioners told many lawmakers they didn’t want the authority. The bill was then redrawn to included only Wake County. And it failed again.Gurley says commissioners are going to push the idea again in May. Interesting. Waste taxpayer time and money on an ill-considered proposal, and then waste some more. What happened to Gurley’s conservatism?

As concerning as Gurley’s view on the property, though, is his position on the upcoming school bond vote, which would grant the authority to borrow $810 million in the name of the taxpayers for much-needed school improvements. Gurley’s view is that people should support the bond issue because it is the cheapest way to build and maintain schools. But, he says, he doesn’t trust the school board to handle the money.

The schools that will be built and improved with money from the bond issue will benefit many thousands of children, just as the fine school facilities now in use were funded by taxpayers of decades past.

With good support from elected leaders, today’s voters will on Oct. 8 have the same chance to invest in the future by approving the next bond issue.

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