Wake Ed

January 24, 2014

Wake County school bond backers spent more than $300,000

The Friends of Wake County spent $308,254.43 to get last October’s school construction bond issue passed, compared to just $9,252.38 by the anti-bonds Wake County Taxpayers Association.

Backers of the $810 million Wake County school construction bond issue outspent opponents by 33 to 1 to help win passage of the measure in October.

Finance reports show that the Friends of Wake County, the group that was formed to promote the bonds, spent $308,254.43 during last year’s campaign. In contrast, the Wake County Taxpayers Association only spent $9,252.38 in its efforts to defeat the bonds.

The major fundraising edge allowed the Friends of Wake to mount a coordinated media campaign of television, radio and newspaper ads and campaign mailers. In the end, the bond issue was approved with 57.74 percent of the vote.

Some of the region’s largest organizations donated to Friends of Wake. The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce was the biggest donor at $83,000.

Duke Energy, Red Hat and WakeMed all gave $25,000. Lord Corp. and GlaxoSmithKline each gave $15,000. BB&T contributed $10.000.

The taxpayers association didn’t report any donors since the group said the money it spent on radio ads, campaign signs and palm cards came from existing group funds.

Friends of Wake wound up spending $5.42 for every yes vote. The taxpayers association spent 22 cents for every no vote.

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The WakeEd blog is devoted to discussing and answering questions about the major issues facing the Wake County school system. WakeEd is maintained by The News & Observer's Wake schools reporter, T. Keung Hui.

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