Wake Ed

February 17, 2014

Wake County to sell instead of leasing site for new school

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted to sell to the school system for $675,000 land for a new elementary school at the former North Wake Landfill rather than lease the property to the school board.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners isn’t cutting the school system a $675,000 break for the land for the new Abbotts Creek Elementary School that will be built in North Raleigh.

The commissioners voted today, Feb. 17, to sell the site at the former North Wake Landfill to the school system for $675,000 instead of leasing it to the school board for $10 a year. Commissioners had previously balked at the lease, leading at one point to concern that Abbotts Creek’s scheduled 2015 opening might be endangered.

The school board had agreed in 2010 to buy 12.51 acres from the county at $54,000 an acre. But last year, county staff approached the school system about turning it from a sale to a long-term lease. It was supposed to be in line with how the commissioners want to own school sites instead of the school board.

The school board agreed to revise the deal, saying the savings from not purchasing the site could be put toward other land purchases.

But commissioners balked at the revised deal in November, saying the money could be used for things such as helping reduce the amount of the new property tax increase coming to repay the school bond issue.

To keep Abbotts Creek on schedule, the school board voted last month to approve two different versions of the acquisition agreement for the site. One has it as a purchase and the other has it as a lease.

Based on the vote, it’s more likely now that the school system will have to purchase rather than lease land at the South Wake Landfill in Holly Springs for a proposed elementary school.

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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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