Wake County Commissioners Want to Give the School Board the Ability to Levy Taxes | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wake County Commissioners Want to Give the School Board the Ability to Levy Taxes

Posted by on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 4:16 PM

click to enlarge GRAPHIC BY SHAN STUMPF
  • Graphic by Shan Stumpf


The Wake County Board of Commissioners is considering asking the General Assembly to grant the county’s school board the ability to raise taxes, a move that could end years of wrangling over school funding.

The commission included shifting taxing authority to the school board tax in its list of legislative goals for 2019 during a presentation Monday. North Carolina is one of only three states where school boards depend on the county for funding. Basically, instead of being able to raise taxes to fund the school system, the school board has to beg commissioners for money year after year.


It’s an uncomfortable dance that has long been a source of strife as school officials press for more funds, and commissioners, balancing their desire to keep taxes as low as possible, meet them somewhere in the middle. For the current school year, the board asked for $69 million in new funds and received $45 million. The year before the school board requested $45 million and received $21 million in new funds. 


So, for the first time, county staffers have suggested asking the legislature to change this rule to allow the school board to set its own tax rate for funding. This would not only alleviate tensions in a relationship county commissioner Sig Hutchinson characterizes as "strained by design," but also hold school board members accountable for tax hikes.


“Let them make those decisions. If they know they are going to be held accountable to the voters next time people vote, they are going to have to think about it,” Hutchinson says. “Now they don’t have to think about it, they just have to come to us and ask.”


Commissioners reviewed draft goals Monday that included the school funding change; however, the item was temporarily pulled pending the adoption of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners’ legislative goals in January, according to assistant Wake County manager Chris Dillon. The commissioners will review the school funding change again in January.


In the meantime, the commission will continue to consider giving the school board tax powers, says Commissioner Matt Calabria.


“For our families, our children, our teachers, and our businesses, we want to have a system that is going to be predictable year after year,” Calabria says. “Obviously, we would need to convince legislators that this is worth trying, but it would bring us in line with other states.”


The school board has not yet been included in the conversation, says school board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler, although she’s not surprised Wake County is considering the change given it’s been a goal of the NCACC for a while.


Empowering the board with tax authority sounds great, Johnson-Hostler says, but she wants to read the fine print before signing off. She’s also not convinced a shift in funding practice is imminent, as it still depends on the legislature’s approval.


“I don’t have any reason to think it’s something that would happen, but maybe it would,” Johnson-Hostler says. “On the face value, of course then we can set the tax rate, the amount that goes to schools, [but] it’s more complicated than the school board raises taxes. I want to know more about what they assume this means.”

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

Maybe a small metal flag..attached to the top of the back wheel with identifying number....disputed claims could be based on …

by Charles Tom Mclaurin on Lime Joins In on the Electric Scooter Game in Raleigh (News)

I think from what I've observed...these scooters need some kind of..number that's visible from a good distance so unsafe operators …

by Charles Tom Mclaurin on Lime Joins In on the Electric Scooter Game in Raleigh (News)

Most Recent Comments

Maybe a small metal flag..attached to the top of the back wheel with identifying number....disputed claims could be based on …

by Charles Tom Mclaurin on Lime Joins In on the Electric Scooter Game in Raleigh (News)

I think from what I've observed...these scooters need some kind of..number that's visible from a good distance so unsafe operators …

by Charles Tom Mclaurin on Lime Joins In on the Electric Scooter Game in Raleigh (News)

What I fail to understand is that they spray this on "large fields" Do they mean fields where crops grow? …

by John Ryan on UPDATED: Study Shows N.C. Hog Farms Spray Hog Poop on Neighbors’ Homes; Cooper Vetoes HB 467 (News)

Wow. Not condescending at all. …

by Timothy Oswald on Don’t Worry, Guys: Pat Robertson’s Got Hurricane Florence Totally Under Control (News)

This is something that has irked me for years, and sorry to tell you, it's a bipartisan problem. Nc republicans …

by Timothy Oswald on There’s a Whole Lot of Pig Crap in the Path of Hurricane Florence (News)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation