||Fact or Fiction?
|"Taxes will be lower after merger"
||Fiction. Taxes will
immediately increase 25% for OCS residents in the first year of merger.
Taxes will stay up at least 20% in year 5 of merger.
Appendix S, adjusted for
|Residents of White Cross
had no choice but to be bussed across the city district to OCS schools.
In the late 1950's after Orange County built the school in
Carrboro and opened, Carrboro and White Cross voted to choose their school
district. This was a vote by the people, where Carrboro voted to be in the
city district and White Cross voted not to be.
NC statute 115C-73 defines the process by which the people in that sliver
can be added to the city district. (requires citizen majority vote &
approval of city school board & approval of state school board)
|Candidates choose to be
endorsed by NoMerger.org
NoMerger.org does not seek approval from candidates for endorsements or
advertisements, as allowed by NC PAC Law.
While we have occasionally given
candidates a heads up regarding upcoming endorsements or advertisements, no
approval was sought from any candidate.
NC Board of Elections
|"A proposed supplemental tax of $0.35 per
$100 valuation would be more expensive than merger"
||Fiction. State law requires
that the maximum amount ever to possibly be levied has to be stated in the
referendum. Today, only $0.20 of the $0.35 maximum city district tax
is levied and the levy amount changes every year. Ad valorem tax estimates
by the county "possible merger" reports do not take inflation
into account nor do they increase funding based on any historical
assumptions. Over time, the supplemental tax would be the same as
any post-merger tax would be.
|"Merger is the only way to increase funding
for the county
||Fiction. Once it can be
established that the majority in the OCS district favor school funding
increases, the county commissioners can
immediately raise the ad valorem tax and unlevy some or all of the
district tax to more equitably fund the schools. Alternately, they
can levy a countywide schools tax. Another alternative which has
never been brought before the voters is an OCS district tax, which would
bring in very similar per pupil funding as the city school district tax.
Merger is not an appropriate mechanism for forcing
the will of a vocal minority of the population.
|"Merger will result in the 'mother
of all redistricting' which will affect thousands
of students who will be bused farther."
||FACT. Smaller school
districts mean that the schools to which your child may be bused are
Some have compared the redistricting of a merged
system to that of a typical city school redistricting, but with the city
district being about 25 square miles and the entire county being almost
400 square miles, the implications of busing are very significant.
The overbuilding of the county schools and
corresponding excess capacity, along with overcrowding in city schools,
sets the stage for well over a thousand students moved from current city
schools to current county schools.
History tells us that for every student moved in
this manner, an additional one to two students are redistricted to balance
Socioeconomic balancing in a recent city elementary
school redistricting meant busing children past one to three other
elementary schools. This would be compounded in a merged system.
|"Merger will save $60M"
||Fiction. While a middle school might be delayed
based on county comments, any delay in school construction would
potentially only result in a savings on the interest that would have
otherwise been paid during the delay.
Any savings on interest would be offset
land appreciation (land parcels are increasing in value and are harder to
find), increased construction expenses, and by new bus purchases and by more miles traveled to shift students to more
|"Children in smaller school
districts are perform better and are less likely to be delinquent."
indicates that larger classrooms and larger schools, including larger
school districts, increase the risk for poor academic achievement, which
is a risk factor for delinquency."
Carolina Community Risk Assessment
For Juvenile Delinquency
|"County residents are going to pay an unfair share of the new
||Fiction. Capital expenses are amortized over
time and the schools are built and financed proportionally to the district
population. In fact, the 5 year average capital spending on OCS
schools is $1,615.27, which is higher than the CHCCS spending of
$1,530.25. If the current test case for impact fees survives legal
challenges, then Orange could use impact fees to more immediately recover
school building costs.
DPI Financial Data 2001-2 (most recent available)
DPI Local School Finance Study
|"The OCS district is harmed because it hosts the Cane Creek
Reservoir and has farmers taxed at a lower rate."
||Fiction. An OCS district tax would generate
very similar per-pupil funding as the current CHCCS district tax.
Ten years ago, an OCS tax would not have generated similar funding. Furthermore, citizens can
advocate higher ad valorem taxes or a countywide supplement and a
reduction in the district tax.
S in the Merger Report shows that
tax base per student in 10th year favors OCS in the school year 2013-14:
This shows the fallacy of the idea that there is some continuing inequitable
distribution of tax base.
|The NC DPI site
Orange County Possible Merger Page
|"City parents oppose merger because the city district would
no longer be the number one SAT district in the state"
||Fiction. A combined district would have the
highest SAT scores in the state.
tale of 2 systems: Would merger undermine quality?", Durham
Herald Sun, 11/29/2003
|"The commissioners have a personal stake in the quality
of the schools"
||Fiction. During the first
two years of consideration, none of the current commissioners had
children in either school system.
Thanks in part to NoMerger.org, Valerie Foushee is now
a commissioner with a child in the schools.
|"The NC constitution prohibits current funding
||Fiction. The NC Constitution
determination of appropriate funding by choice: "Local
responsibility. The General Assembly may assign to units of local
government such responsibility for the financial support of the free
public schools as it may deem appropriate. The governing boards of units
of local government with financial responsibility for public education may
use local revenues to add to or supplement any public school or
post-secondary school program."
|"Orange County School Board has not gotten what they
||Fiction. State statutes outline a process for
school boards to resolve funding disputes and county staff has indicated
that this dispute resolution has not been requested by the OCS board.
§ 115C-431. Procedure for resolution of dispute between board of
education and board of county commissioners.
|"Many colleges refuse to recruit in OCS."
||Fiction. It was stated in a hearing that WestPoint
won't come to the OCS schools. A single email to WestPoint asking about this resulted in an offer to come to OCS and
Most colleges routinely invite suitable candidates and
applicants when they sponsor their own local recruiting meetings,
independent of recruiting fairs.
Also, many parents have stated that the college fairs are really just an opportunity to hand out
flyers and that very little recruiting takes place at the fair, given the
high student to recruiter ratio.
It is true
that more schools come to CHCCS, but it is not known if this discrepancy
is due to the lack of invitations.
The recruiting fair is one area that could be
addressed in collaboration efforts.
|"Money is allocated first to the
city district and leftovers are given to the county district."
"Disparity is perpetuated year after year
because OCS requests would overfund CHCCS"
|Fiction. "Each year the
county allocates the same amount per pupil to both school districts and
then the CHCCS district receives additional money from the supplemental
district tax.", writes Commissioner Gordon.
The per pupil funding is determined by
the commissioners and they then determine the appropriate mix of ad
valorem and city district taxes to generate the appropriate funding.
This calculation is very straightforward.
Gordon's 12/9/2003 Proposal
|"OCS was hit harder in 2003-2004
because less of its budget request was granted"
||Fiction. Both systems were
similarly funded less than their needs. CHCCS pared its request to
the BOCC down beforehand knowing that budget cuts were imminent. OCS
was initally thought to have been underfunded in 2003-2004, but the missing
budget amount was found (but never publicized).
|"Better funding will result in more
high quality OCS teachers."
||Fiction. OCS has 93.4
percent and CHCCS has 93.3 percent rated as high quality teachers under
||N&O sidebar, 12/5/2003.
NC Report Cards
|"OCS does not have sufficient
funding to have Spanish in elementary school."
||Fiction. It is our understanding that OCS made
a conscious decision to use Spanish class funding to lower class
size. It is this type of self-determination of each school system to
apply funding where most needed by their respective systems that
NoMerger.org supports. Smaller school districts are able to be more
responsive to the needs of their constituencies.
|"Busing can be delayed up front for
3 or 5 or 10 years"
||Fiction. There is no binding
way to make this happen. Subsequent commissioners, or even the same
commissioners, can change their mind at a later date. For example,
Commissioners can force this upon the schools by funding line items for
busing and not funding line items for trailers at a school.
the primary premises of Moses Carey is that merger can provide capital
savings, and on the other hand, he says that busing can be delayed for a
long period of time. There is no way to have both at the same
time. You either bus children long distances or you build schools
the right size in the right places.
Since schools have been built
too large and in the wrong places, merger insures long distance busing.
Merger removes all motivation to place schools near
the kids. Merger guarantees schools will be built where the land is
cheapest, thus guaranteeing long distance busing for the long term.
This violates smart
growth, a frequent buzzword of the commissioners even though no formal
smart growth set of principles have been adopted by the BOCC.
|"Equal Funding = Equal
||Fiction. Even within the
city district, schools perform differently. There are a variety of
factors at work. While many think that the districts should be
funded similarly, this will not guarantee that all students will perform
For example, Carrboro Elementary has 82 and 88
percent of students performing at or above grade level in reading and math
and Glenwood has 94 and >95 percent, respectively. Both in the
same district and are equally funded.