Wake County

TriPol: Wake schools supporter says blank check shouldn't be expected

This week’s election of a new Democratic majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners is expected to result in more money to build and operate schools.

The four winning Democratic candidates campaigned on raising teacher salaries and building enough schools to avoid overcrowding. But Steve Parrott, president of the Wake Education Partnership, a business-backed nonprofit advocacy group that supports public education, said he expects the school board will have to justify how it will use any new funding.

“This isn’t a blank check for the school district,” Parrott said. “I’m confident they’re going to look for some fiscal accountability and fiscal responsibility before getting additional funding.”

The next school construction bond referendum could be put on the ballot as soon as 2016. But Parrott, whose group would likely be expected to help get the bond issue passed, said county leaders can’t ask for too much. The last school bond issue of $810 million was approved by voters in 2013.

“What experience has shown is that it would be difficult to present a bond to taxpayers that would be in excess of $1 billion,” Parrott said.

House supporter joins board

The Raleigh City Council has appointed a supporter of the polarizing Oakwood modernist house to the Board of Adjustment, replacing a critic who had voted to stop its construction.

The council had earlier decided not to re-appoint Ted Shear, a forestry professor at N.C. State University; at the time, Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin noted Shear’s role in the decision to strip city approval of the house mid-construction.

On Wednesday, the City Council chose Shear’s replacement: Gene Conti, a former secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation who also is a founder of a legal defense fund that benefited the house, and who was quoted in media coverage as a supporter of the house’s owners.

Baldwin, who nominated Conti, said it was his government experience and intelligence that made him a prime choice.

Political events

• Raleigh District A City Council member Wayne Maiorano will host a town hall meeting open to all city residents on Wednesday. The meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Campbell Lodge, Durant Nature Park, 3237 Spottswood St. The subject of the meeting will be “What’s on your Mind?”

Compiled by T. Keung Hui and Andrew Kenney.

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