DURHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham school officials hope three new schools will alleviate the pressure of a rapidly growing student body.
Durham Public Schools said the district has 500 new students this school year--their highest surplus attendance in four years.
The district said it needs more county funding to sustain this growth.
Under the proposal, two brand new elementary schools would come to South Durham to alleviate overcrowding in 10 of the county's K-5 schools.
"It impacts us tremendously," said Julius Monk, chief operating officer for Durham Public Schools.
Monk said a new $30 million elementary school will be built off Scott King Road in South Durham. A second elementary school is proposed at MLK Pkwy and South Roxboro Road.
Northern High School will also be rebuilt. The new $50 million high school will be located five minutes south of the old location on North Roxboro Road.
DPS expects to break ground on one of these projects in the next few months. All three schools are expected to open by 2023.
"The county says it will fund us as soon as we are ready for construction," Monk said. "So we're going to take them at their word."
The schools were supposed to be funded from a $90 million county bond taxpayers passed four years ago. But Monk said the construction projects were shelved to take care of existing infrastructure.
DPS said now that the district is growing and construction costs have increased, they will need more money. The district said they will need about $700 million over the next 10 years to keep up with growth and building improvements, but they only anticipate receiving about $400 million from the county.
"We need to have more than that. We have over $500 million in existing maintenance. Buildings like this (DPS headquarters) that have not been modernized in quite some time. And our schools are like that right now," Monk said.
They are hoping to convince the county in an upcoming budget meeting next month to increase funds.
Some of these additional funds could come in another bond referendum that voters will have to consider in fall 2022.
3 new public schools set to open in Durham in 2023
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