Garner: Opinion

Editorial: Garner should stand its ground

We realize the Wake County school system, like any other entity, wants to get as much bang for its buck as it can.

That’s why they are trying to convince Garner officials that they should not be responsible for paving a dirt road that would serve the planned Bryan Road Elementary School.

But the notion that students would be traveling a dirt road to get to their school is beyond the pale. There are appearance issues. There are safety issues. There are traffic congestion issues.

In this case, the town of Garner is treating the Wake school system like any other property developer, by holding them to the same rules they would expect a private developer to meet. Some within the Wake County school system have apparently taken the tack that that because they are a government agency they are somehow not obligated to follow rules deemed suitable for everyone else to follow. That’s the height of hypocrisy.

Wake County school officials claim the responsibility for paving the road should lie with the state’s Department of Transportation. But that’s a far-fetched notion. The state of North Carolina doesn’t improve roads for private development, though it does inspect the work done by those property owners to ensure it meets state-determined standards.

Paving the stretch of road in question – Bryan Road – will cost just over $1 million to pave. We understand that’s not chump change, even by government standards.

But it is a cost of doing business.

School system representatives suggested last week that if the town doesn’t cave to the school system’s request, it could jeopardize improvements at another Garner school, Vandora Springs Elementary.

That scare tactic didn’t phase Garner council members, and, in fact, more likely served to steel the council’s resolve that the school system should follow the same rules as everybody else.

In this situation, we believe the school system is trying to overreach what is reasonable. Garner doesn’t need a school built on a dirt road. Somehow we suspect if this school were being constructed in Raleigh or Cary, the school system would simply swallow the expense as a cost of doing business. That’s what they need to do in this case as well.