Commissioners: School bond could be in jeopardy


ABC11 has learned major school projects in Wake County, including a proposed 2013 school bond, will be put on hold until the school board gives county commissioners more direction.

It appears to be the commissioners' response to the school board's decision to fire Superintendent Tony Tata.

"You can't move without leadership and without a superintendent," said Commissioner Paul Coble. "I don't see how they can move forward. They need to right their ship before we get into other conversations about how we're going to move forward on a bond."

Some school board members said Tata was fired last week because they were increasingly at odds with him after the majority party changed in the last election. Tata's ouster leaves in limbo major projects, including the creation of two new high schools, the student assignment plan, and the bond supporters hoped would be on the ballot next may.  

"I think we're on track for that," said School Board Chairman Kevin Hill.

Hill thinks the bond will still happen. He is resetting his expectations for when. Now, it may be November not May, but there's a question if even that is enough time.

County Commissioner Tony Gurley said the last school bond in 2006 took a good 18 months of planning and selling the idea to voters. It passed with only 52 percent of the vote.

Hill said the need for more schools in Wake County is real. He believes voters will see that.

"They've put together a tremendous amount of data to demonstrate the need for new schools," said Hill. "I think what we have to do a better job of is getting that information out to the public."

However, Coble said it's critical to have someone at the helm to steer the process.

"When they can actually pull themselves together and have some leadership, then we can get back together and talk about it," said Coble. "I don't see that happening until they get a new superintendent and he's had some time to figure out what's going on."

Both sides say the process shouldn't be and isn't political.

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