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The Daily Tar Heel

School Districts Discuss Possible Merger

The commissioners will meet with the Orange County Board of Education and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education at 7:30 p.m. in the Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill.

Orange County officials said the three boards will discuss the impact of the bond package's $47 million allocated for education.

The referendum, if passed, will provide Orange County schools with $19.4 million for the construction of a middle school and $27.6 million to Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for two new elementary schools.

Commissioner Moses Carey said the location for one of the two proposed elementary schools and the proposed Orange County middle school had yet to be determined, but the topic is slated for discussion at Monday's meeting.

Carey also said the schedule for construction of the new schools is unknown.

"The elementary schools in Chapel Hill are really crowded, and the others will be there if we don't build the new schools," Carey said.

Teresa Williams, member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education, said the three boards also will discuss a possible merger between the two school districts, which could consolidate funding into one district tax.

Residents in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district pay a separate school district tax in addition to a county tax, while Orange County residents only pay a county tax.

"What we want to know is if they could clarify where they stand on the desirability to (merge) and how they intend for the issue to be studied and commented on," Williams said.

The meeting will consist of general discussion between all three groups followed by separate meetings with each of the school boards and the commissioners.

Williams said she doubted if the groups would be able to address every topic slated for discussion. "I don't think we are going to be able to make it through this agenda," Williams said. "I would be very surprised."

Commissioner Alice Gordon said the officials could come to some agreements, but the final decisions on certain topics would be left to the appropriate board. "We might come to some kind of understanding or agreement, but it usually isn't finalized."

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