Education

Voters Approve Construction, Technology Bonds for their Districts

By Lesli A. Maxwell — November 09, 2006 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Voters in Wake County, N.C., approved one of the largest school construction bonds on local ballots Nov. 7, giving the green light to build schools that will house an exploding student population.

The proposal there was one of several school bond issues that voters across the country weighed as they cast ballots on local matters along with nationally significant midterm elections for Congress and numerous state offices. Proponents of the measures said they likely benefited from high voter turnout driven largely by interest in the congressional races.

In Wake County, which includes Raleigh, 53 percent of voters approved the $970 million bond measure, which supporters said would be the first of several bonds needed to finance more than $5 billion in school construction needs over the next 14 years.

In State Races, Democrats’ Success Sets Stage for New Education Agendas
House Democrats to Pursue Education Agenda With New Majority
Voters Defeat Funding Measures, But Also Refuse to Restrict Spending
Idaho State Chief’s Race Goes to GOP, While South Carolina Heads for Recount
View election data map.

With just more than 128,000 students enrolled this school year, the district expects to grow by an additional 40,000 students by 2010, said Del Burns, the superintendent of the Wake County schools. The district added 7,600 students to its roster this fall.

“We are growing so fast, and we have to have much more capacity,” Mr. Burns said. “This bond pays for a three-year building program. It’s just the first part of what we are going to need to build.”

The bond’s passage will allow the district to move ahead immediately with plans to build two high schools, four middle schools, and 11 elementary schools by 2010, Mr. Burns said. Even when the new campuses open, district officials said, several elementary and middle schools will have to remain on a year-round calendar to meet the enrollment demands.

The Wake County district is nationally known for its now 6-year-old practice of using family-income levels to assign some students to schools as a means of limiting the concentration of poverty at any one campus.

Michael Evans, the spokesman for the district, said building new schools would not alter that policy.

‘E-Books’

In San Francisco, backers persuaded 74 percent of voters to support Measure A, a $450 million bond to help the city’s school district upgrade and repair its aging campuses and school buildings. It was the largest local school bond ever passed by San Francisco voters in support of the 56,000-student system.

The Democratic Party
Republican National Committee
National Public Radio
Multimedia: The New York Times
Roll Call
Multimedia: The Washington Post
BBC
Multimedia: Guardian (U.K.)

Voters in two small Texas cities, meanwhile, approved bond measures that included millions of dollars to help their school districts pay for conversions from traditional textbooks to electronic ones. The voters in Lancaster and Forney, located in suburban Dallas, said yes to school bond packages that earmark money to provide paperless “e-books” to students.

In Forney, 52 percent of voters approved Proposition 5, an $11.8 million bond to pay for laptop computers and system upgrades that officials of the 5,000-student district there said would help them switch students to using only electronic textbooks within the next two years. In Lancaster, 54 percent of voters agreed to a $215 million bond that, in part, will pay for laptop purchases and other technological upgrades to move the 5,200-student district toward paperless textbooks.

And in St. Paul, Minn., voters agreed to pay more in property taxes and extend an existing levy that together will raise $30 million in additional revenue annually for the city’s schools. Some of the money will pay for adding all-day kindergarten to nine schools that don’t already offer it, and go for early-childhood programs that have operated on temporary allocations.

Governance Changes

School district governance was an issue on several ballots.

In Florida, voters in two counties were asked whether they wanted to change how their superintendents of schools are chosen.

In Lake County, near Orlando, 55 percent of voters opted to ditch the tradition of electing the superintendent of the 40,000-student school district in favor of an appointed chief who will be chosen by the elected school board. But the same idea was resoundingly defeated in Pasco County, north of Tampa, where 58 percent of voters opted to retain their right to elect a superintendent for the 60,000 student-system.

Most of Florida’s 67 school districts—42 of them now—allow voters to elect superintendents directly, a practice that goes back decades. Voters in Sacramento, Calif., approved a change in how that district will elect school board members in future elections. Currently, members are elected districtwide, but in two measures that won Nov. 7, voters will soon elect members to represent specific voting areas.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: September 22, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)