08/17/05 — School facilities plan next for county

View Archive

School facilities plan next for county

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 17, 2005 1:49 PM

After voting unanimously on a compromise funding agreement between the county and the school system, commissioners said Tuesday the next challenge will be working on the schools facility plan.

Commissioner Efton Sager said some citizens thought the past turmoil between the school board and the commissioners was ego-driven, or a power struggle.

"I think part of that is true, but on the other hand, I believe that you have dedicated individuals on both boards that are strongly grounded in their core beliefs," Sager said. "If we are going to make progress in the real needs of the schools, we must agree that it is a team effort."

Sager said he would like for the boards to continue with a "win-win" situation.

He said the county can't take money out of the fund balance for capital needs, but has to plan ahead.

"The latest facility need study that the commissioners have for the schools is over $71 million, and it is my understanding the school board plans to add several other projects," Sager said.

He, and the other commissioners, agreed that it would be difficult getting a $71 million bond referendum for school construction to pass.

"It will take a lot of work between the two boards to determine an amount that could be passed," Sager said.

Sager also cautioned anyone who might think that the lottery would take care of school needs.

"I have closely watched how the Legislature plans to use the lottery money and currently if it is passed, there will not be enough money allocated for the capital needs of the schools," he said.

Sager said he thought the school board and the county could continue to work together on the facility plan.

In a press release, Wayne County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor said he was "extremely pleased the boards have reached an agreement."

"From this process, both have gained a better understanding of county and school system budgets," he said. "We hope that has helped solidify a more trusting relationship, and we look forward to working together to provide quality services to the children of Wayne County."

Taylor said both boards would now focus on working on the facility plan.

In other matters Tuesday, the commissioners took the following action:

*Held a public hearing on the county's proposed hazard mitigation plan. No one spoke for or against the plan, which was unanimously adopted by the board following the hearing,

*Approved a request to extend the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction for a small portion of land that is in the county. N.C. Warehousing is proposing to develop a residential subdivision along the east side of NC 111 North Highway, north of Tommy's Road directly across from Whispering Woods subdivision.

*Gave permission for Whitley Church to have a fireworks celebration on Sept. 10.