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The Daily Tar Heel

Commissioners Agree To Bond Referendum

Most of the meeting's debate centered on an amendment that would require more specific wording of a $2 million resolution designed to assist Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools with financing the planning of a new high school.

The amendment, which was eventual shot down, would have required that commissioners explicitly promise to fund a new high school.

The resolution's wording now allocates the $2 million to ease high school overcrowding but does not specifically state that a new high school will be built for Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

"I'd just like it to be more specific," said Commissioner Alice Gordon, who proposed the amendment.

Gordon said when she voted to approve the resolution last week, the wording suggested construction of a new high school.

"But then I read it later and it didn't really say that," Gordon said.

Gordon's proposal was not seconded, and other commissioners said the present wording was clear enough.

"Adoption of another resolution in my opinion would be redundant," said Commissioner Moses Carey.

"I understand the resolution to be supportive of high school growth."

The fact that funding for a new high school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro system was excluded from the bond proposal was a major point of contention at a workshop Thursday and led to the $2 million resolution promising to aid overcrowding in the district.

"One precipitated the other, but they're not under the same umbrella," said Commissioner Barry Jacobs.

Jacobs, coauthor of the original resolution, said he assumed that the wording conveyed intent to plan for a new high school.

Jacobs also said the resolution included a commitment to alleviate the pains of the explosive growth that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system has faced in recent years.

The referendum will appear on the ballot Nov. 6.

The package would allocate $75 million to various projects, including $47 million to the construction of three new schools -- two elementary schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system and middle school in Orange County.

The referendum will also include $20 million for parks, recreation and open space. Senior centers and affordable housing projects weighed in, each receiving a $4 million chunk of the $75 million bond.

Gordon said she introduced the second resolution Tuesday night to get a firm commitment from the commissioners to build a new high school.

"This resolution would not displace the resolution already intact," Gordon said.

But Jacobs said the old resolution was sufficient for funding the planning stages of the new high school.

"I think the public should be assured that the Orange County Board of Commissioners' commitment to education remains unmatched and constant."

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