Gov. Roy Cooper’s $3.9 billion bond proposal includes $28.2 million for Wayne County Public Schools and $5 million for Wayne Community College.
State House Speaker Tim Moore earlier put forth a bond proposal for $1.9 billion under which Wayne County would receive $23.6 million or about $4.6 million less than under Cooper’s proposal.
Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Michael Dunsmore said he appreciates the efforts of the governor and state lawmakers to come up with funding options to assist school districts in addressing aging facilities and school construction/renovation needs.
With some of Wayne County’s school buildings dating back to the 1920s, the school system has done a tremendous job maintaining campuses and keeping the schools operating, he said.
Unfortunately, as electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems get more dated, even for those built in the 1950s and up into the 1980s, the costs of maintaining those systems are increasing, Dunsmore said.
“In assessing our buildings, we know that there are some schools that are long overdue for being replaced, such as Rosewood Middle and Mount Olive Middle,” he said. “We also know there are buildings on some school campuses, such as Brogden Primary, Brogden Middle, Fremont STARS, Southern Wayne High and Goldsboro High, which are in need of serious facilities upgrades due to aging systems.
“Additionally, we recognize that because of population shifts, some schools built several decades ago may not be in the best location today, causing them not to be filled to capacity, whereas other areas have larger numbers of students causing existing schools in those areas to be overcrowded. This is why my administration and the board of education are taking a hard look at attendance lines in order to better utilize facilities districtwide and to identify areas where new schools may need to be built in the future.”
While proposed state-level funding options are important, addressing immediate local school facilities needs, additional money, such as a county school bond referendum, will need to be seriously considered soon, Dunsmore said.
Cooper toured Rosewood Middle School on Aug. 14 with Dunsmore and Principal Catherine Lassiter. They discussed the school’s structural issues and how a construction bond would help rebuild schools across the state.
At that time, Tim Harrell, director of project operations for Wayne County Public Schools, said Rosewood Middle School is one of the public schools in Wayne County that would be replaced rather than renovated due to its structural problems.