A state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that would allow Boards of Commissioners in nine counties, including Wake, to take away from their local school boards their authority to build and own schools.
Senate Bill 236 would allow boards of commissioners in those counties to take over all facets of school construction, including the locating, constructing, owning, maintaining, renovating and building of schools. These responsibilities have traditionally been held by school systems.
In the counties that take advantage of the legislation, the bill would leave school boards only the ability to advise commissioners on school construction. It’s expected that the Wake County Board of Commissioners, who first proposed the bill to the legislature, will move to act on the new powers. The bill comes as both the Wake commissioners and school board are working on a $940 million school-construction program that could go on the ballot this fall.
But the bill is opposed by the Wake school board, which argued it needs to maintain control of school properties as part of its job of educating students. Both boards have hired lobbyists to wage their fight in the legislature.
The bill goes to the Senate Finance Committee. The bill originally would have affected the entire state, but was revised Wednesday to affect only Beaufort, Dare, Davie, Guilford, Harnett, Lee, Rockingham, Rowan and Wake counties. More here.