Cary Considers Overcrowded Schools In Rezoning Talks

Nov 27, 2014

Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

 Members of the Cary Town Council are calling on county officials to help address the issue of overcrowding in Wake County public schools.

Earlier this month, the council tabled a request to rezone about 58 acres in west Cary that would have created 130 new homes.

Some members say they don’t feel comfortable moving forward with the plan just yet – at least not while many of the nearby schools are at or above capacity.

“We have a fantastic town where a lot of people want to live,” said town council member Jennifer Robinson at a meeting last Thursday. “But if we keep bringing in people without the resources, it is going to degrade the quality of living here.”

Robinson said that west Cary is in “serious need” of another middle school. Mills Park Middle currently operates between 110% and 120% of capacity, according to Wake County Public Schools.

A couple of council members, like Don Frantz, expressed skepticism over what tabling rezoning projects would accomplish.

“The reality is that schools are always an issue,” said Frantz. “I totally appreciate and understand the concerns, but I’m not going to hold this property hostage because of it.”

Frantz was planning to approve the project before it was postponed.  

Members said they have no intention of permanently stopping development or issuing a moratorium.

“We just want to do it in a thoughtful manner,” said town council member Lori Bush.

Bush said they hope to work on solutions to overcrowded schools with the Wake County Commissioners and school board members.

The school district plans to open 16 new schools over the next five years. School officials say they’re building the schools to accommodate the more than 20,000 new students expected by 2018.

“Overcrowded classrooms are not just impacting citizens and kids in western Cary. It’s impacting us across Wake County,” said Bush.