Council members let is be known they were not pleased with the way the Wake County school system conducted business during the Bryan Road Elementary issue, a negotiation that spanned two months.
Council member Buck Kennedy told county commissioners in a joint meeting, the recent discussion with the school system highlighted years of issues between the two parties. Kennedy said the school system provided the council major demands without enough time to adequately work through the issues.
He cited the school system’s decision to attach the renovations at Vandora Springs Elementary to a special use permit for Bryan Road Elementary School. The school system had said if the permit was not passed, then the renovations to Vandora Springs could be delayed. Bryan Road Elementary will be used as a swing space when Vandora Springs is being renovated in 2017.
“OK people can say, we can’t do politics in the backroom. No, but any reasonable developer comes into town ahead of time and says give us the lay of the land,” he said.
In early December, the school system requested a special use permit for Bryan Road Elementary School. Part of Bryan Road, where the school site is located, is on a gravel road.
The town wanted it paved, but the school system argued that the road was a state maintained road and they were not responsible for paving it. Paving the road would have cost millions of dollars, money they didn’t have, officials for the school system said.
The discussion on the gravel road spanned over three council meetings, after the two sides failed to come to an agreement initially. The negotiations hit a snag in the second meeting when the school system proposed doing away with curb and gutter to save money. That angered some council members, who felt the school system wouldn’t have made the proposal to a Cary or Apex school.
After the third meeting, the two sides came to an agreement. The school system would find a way to get the road paved by partnering with N.C. DOT and a nearby developer. However, the school will not have curb and gutter along its road frontage.
Kennedy continued to express how he felt about the situation.
“Maybe that’s none of your problem,” Kennedy told county commissioners, “but it is a problem to us.”
Kennedy said doing things the way the school system approached the Bryan Road issue could cause dysfunction in the way the council and school system cooperate with each other.
“We would appreciate your influence to start a little sooner, and let’s be good boys and girls to work together,” he said. “Yes there’s a lot of work in the bond referendum that’s coming to Garner and we are appreciative. And we have been waiting for it for a good while. Things have been delayed and delayed.”
He asked county commissioners to be aware of the issues.
“We’d like our share of the pie, just as much as the folks west of us would,” Kennedy said.
Council member Ken Marshburn echoed his sentiments.
“I think Buck (Kennedy) is right, sometimes there is a perception that when it comes to resources and (student) assignment,” Marshburn said. “We want to be an equal partner and receive our reasonable share of the resources that come our way.”
County commissioner Chair James West said the county is looking at ways to help all areas in the county that are feeling undeserved.
“We acknowledge that throughout the county there are issues, but it’s our turn,” Mayor pro-tem Kathy Behringer said.