Wake County leaders are on board with forming a task force that would focus on the impact that growth is having on the school system.
School board member Keith Sutton made the pitch for the new committee at Monday’s joint meeting of the Board of Education and county Board of Commissioners. James West, the chairman of the commissioners, and County Manager Jim Hartmann were among the officials who praised the proposal as being needed at a time when Wake is growing by an average of 62 people a day.
“It is time to look at this,” Hartmann told both boards. “It is very, very important.”
Sutton said that the new committee would raise awareness of the impact of growth on the school system. He said it would also facilitate collaboration needed to address the cost of growth. In 2013, voters approved an $810 million school construction bond issue.
“We can’t wait until each pending bond to then ramp up those conversations about not just school construction but how we fund school construction,” Sutton said.
The task force could include representatives from a variety of groups, including elected officials from the county and municipalities, planning experts, developers, the business community and parents.
While Sutton said it doesn’t matter who is in charge, he said the school system could oversee the new committee since the county is busy with developing a transit plan.
For now, the task force will be studied by the leaders of both boards and Hartmann and Superintendentt Jim Merrill.