Forestville Rd school site still hot topic

April 21, 2010 7:51:46 AM PDT
The location of a new Wake County high school continues to be a hot topic for school board and county commission members.

The original site near the intersection of Highway 401 and Forestville road in Raleigh was set to open in 2012. But that site drew a lot of criticism. Nearby residents complained about potential traffic problems, and there were concerns about the cost of the land and extra costs for rock removal and road improvements.

A new majority on the board elected last fall pledged to move it, and picked Rolesville. The exact location has yet to be determined and the final plan has to be approved by the county commission.

Wednesday, while making case to county commissioners to keep funding the same next year, Democratic Commissioner Betty Lou Ward questioned why the school board would walk away from the original site of what's expected to be the county's largest high school.

School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta, a Republican, explained that any past spending and future spending comes from their capital budget, a different pot of money, than operational budget. Ward countered that she thinks they should be counting all of their money and spending it more wisely.

School officials estimate that it's costing $15 million to change the high school site to Rolesville based on the delay in construction and the additional costs to keep kids at existing schools until the school would open.

Wake School Board members made final $20 million in cuts to central services Tuesday as approved a $1.4 billion budget. The cuts let 68 people go, eliminate 46 vacant positions and keep a hiring freeze.

"The process of letting those people go has begun. Phone calls are being made," said Wake Schools Business Manager David Neter.

Wake leaders are still going over Governor Perdue's budget announced Tuesday. The additional cuts of 3.8 percent equal roughly $27 million in additional cuts that will need to be made in Wake County.

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