Complete Overview

  • Highlights of this page (Updated May 23, 2024):

    • Long-term Chapel Hill and Carrboro school facility needs
    • What’s proposed for CHCCS
    • Outcomes for students, staff, families
    • This summer and fall: Community engagement, additional next steps
    • November 2024: Bond referendum (public vote)


    🔎 Details:

    In November of 2024, the voters of Chapel Hill and Carrboro (as well as all who live in Orange County, NC) will be asked to vote on a $300 million bond referendum in order to invest in long-term capital improvement (facility) needs for CHCCS and Orange County Schools.


    What is the purpose of the bond? CHCCS is taking a two-pronged approach:

    1. Focus on priority maintenance needs for our schools.
    2. Address operational inefficiencies through the replacement or consolidation of existing schools.


    What is proposed for CHCCS? At the May 16 Board of Education meeting, CHCCS was prepared to share and then elaborate on a long-range plan that proposes several projects over the next 4-8 years (and likely longer), if a majority of voters approve the bond. However, due to time spent on other topics, the public presentation was later postponed to the next Board of Education meeting on Thursday, June 6. The long–range plan includes:

    • A proposal to build a brand new middle school on land adjacent to Morris Grove Elementary School.
    • A proposal to build a brand new Culbreth Middle School on its existing site.
    • A proposal to build a brand new Carrboro Elementary School on its existing site.
    • A proposal to expand the Spanish Dual Language and Newcomer programs (presently at FPG Bilingüe Elementary (FPG), Carrboro Elementary and Northside Elementary) and relocate future dual language students (approximately 800) to the McDougle ES/MS campus. 
      • In this proposal, non Dual Language students currently zoned for McDougle Middle would likely attend the brand new middle school next to Morris Grove.
      • Also in this proposal, non Dual Language students currently zoned for McDougle Elementary would likely attend other elementary schools, including a brand new Carrboro Elementary, Morris Grove, etc. 
    • A proposal to take the aging FPG Bilingüe and Estes Hills elementary school facilities “offline” (which, at the earliest, would be an estimated 4-10 years from now), meaning the next generation of FPG and EHES students would attend school in more modern buildings where ample space already exists.
    • Addressing ongoing major maintenance (roofing, fire/life safety) at all CHCCS schools.


    These are considered long-term proposals at this time, pending the outcome of the bond vote in November 2024. All dates for future projects are “to-be-determined”.


    How might this happen? Schools are treasured in our community, and our oldest buildings have served generations faithfully. Now is also the time to carefully think through and work together to address our community’s future facility needs. The proposals and related impacts to school communities (such as the ones proposed above) will be addressed by our School Bond Education committee as it holds community meetings throughout the summer and fall.



    Ultimately, what would be the outcomes for students, staff and families?


    • Students and staff in modern, spacious, leading-edge learning environments.
    • Reducing operational/structural inefficiencies such as utility and maintenance costs that are higher in our oldest facilities.
    • Reducing the overall age of CHCCS school buildings.


    How were these project proposals determined? A Capital Working Group was formed back in 2021, representing a collaboration between CHCCS, Orange County Government and Orange County Schools. 



    What’s next? Expect additional written messages, but also ample opportunities to engage in-person once the Orange County School Bond Education Committee begins holding meetings this summer and into the fall. Until then, some public meetings are taking place next month:


    • June 4: Orange County Board of Commissioners Public Hearing on bond referendum.
    • June 6: CHCCS Board of Education, Superintendent’s report/information item, to include Bond project discussion.
    • Throughout the summer and fall of 2024: Participate in/engage with Orange County Bond Education Committee. (Orange County is still accepting applications if you would like to be a member of this committee, which will help communicate information throughout the summer and fall. Use this link to apply.)
    • November 5, 2024: Election Day (bond referendum will appear on the ballot.)


    News articles including CHCCS participation (but not written by CHCCS):



    Past CHCCS Communications on this topic (not including numerous Board of Education and County Commissioner meeting agendas. other instances where the topic was discussed in public, and publicity for the School Bond Education Committee):



    General Information about Bond Financing: If voters approve the proposed November 2024 referendum, the bonds will provide funds for priority public school projects that would otherwise have to be paid from recurring revenues or borrowed through more expensive and less flexible means.



    Questions: Will be addressed by the School Bond Education Committee, which is still being formed at this time.

    Bottom line at this time: This plan looks years into the future needs of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The bond is not on the ballot until November. Expect additional written messages, but also ample opportunities to engage in-person and get questions answered once the Orange County School Bond Education Committee begins holding meetings this summer and into the fall.