There is no doubt that some Guilford County Schools are in dire need of repairs.
So one question voters should be asking is: Why hasn’t the Guilford County school board spent the $300 million in bonds that were approved in November 2020? A lot of roofs and air-conditioning systems can be replaced for $300 million.
One possible answer, though sad, seems obvious. If the school board had spent the $300 million to repair some schools, the parents of the children at those schools would be less likely to see the need for a $1.7 billion school bond.
The very fact that the school board appears willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of children in order to help pass a massive bond is a good reason to vote against it.
But there are plenty of other reasons. One is that bond money has to be spent in 10 years, which means the $300 million will have to be spent by 2030, and if the $1.7 billion bond passes that will have to be spent by 2032.
So the schools will have to average spending about $200 million a year on school construction for the next 10 years. That would be the equivalent of the schools planning and building two Tanger Centers each year for 10 years. From conception to completion, it took Greensboro over eight years to build one Tanger Center.
The school board is simply incapable of spending that massive amount of money on construction responsibly.
There is also the question about what happened to the $10 million the Guilford County Board of Commissioners allocated to the Guilford County Schools for security. The commissioners used two-thirds bonds, which don’t have to be approved by voters and can be allocated quickly, to provide what was at the time said to be an immediate need for improved security. Three years later the schools reported that only $63,000 of the money had been spent.
If the schools can’t figure out how to spend $300 million when they say they have over $2 billion in needs and can’t spend $10 million on security, how in the world can the same organization be expected to responsibly spend $1.7 billion over a 10-year period?
It would be much more responsible for the Guilford County commissioners to tell the schools that after the plans on how the $300 million will be spent are approved, that the commissioners will put another bond on the ballot. Construction doesn’t happen overnight and the school board has already proven how slow it is to pull the trigger on starting construction projects.
Since there is no way that the schools can responsibly spend $2 billion on construction in 10 years, it would make a lot more sense to break it up into smaller amounts. With $2 billion to spend and a 10-year deadline, there is going to be a massive rush to get the money spent one way or another.
Get Nido Quebin to oversee the Guilford County schools. He has spent and built millions / billions on buildings at High Point University and gets it done quickly. Get him on the payroll (probably do it for about nothing) Fix them now before more roofs leak, mold grows, etc….. Make it happen School Board, well maybe not since you are fixing to be voted out of office because you can not lead or manage.
Oh ye of little faith… At $20 million a door they will tried to spend all 1.7 in 10 years. I don’t know where the contractors and materials will come from and quality will be another matter.
Monty Hagler and his firm https://www.rlfcommunications.com/ may be involved in illegally accepting taxpayer monies and resources to promote his cause.
Breaking News: Guilford County $1.7 Billion Bond. Guilford County Administration are violating State Laws in spending taxpayer funds and other government resources to promote a viewpoint favoring the passage.
Maybe we now know why Monty Hagler would not fully disclose who is paying him. I am now more confident he is part of the corruption in our school district?
also can be seen on WXII YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSp9lHSrDUY
More facts and evidence discovered recently:
FACT: Since 2007, over $87.5M in Lottery Funds has been applied to the bond debt. This $87.5M could have been used towards capital needs, including construction (i.e. refers to renovations, additions, new buildings, and infrastructure to serve educational facilities). Mind you, there is no match required of Lottery Funds dollars, so the BOCC and BOE basically threw away free money!
FACT: Since Sharon Contreras has been Superintendent (8/2016-present), Lottery Funds have been applied to bond debt ($28.5M) and no capital funding projects appear on the NCDPI Capital Funding NC Education Lottery Funds applied to debt service by Guilford County Board of Commissioners per direction/approval by Guilford County Board of Education. Blue line items are Lottery Funds applied to debt service ($28,549,500).
(Jump to pg. 155-159: (Jump to page 155-159 at https://www.dpi.nc.gov/media/6769/download)
Thank you for giving us info on how Lottery Funds are being spent.
Well said, John
Thank you John Hammer for explaining the spending habits of the school bond issue! I knew it was a bad idea but now I understand it better! Thank you for explaining it so clearly!
There is no end for these people to keep coming to the taxpayer for more, more, more. There is never an end to what they “need.” I thought that was the whole point of the North Carolina “Education” Lottery, to relieve the burden on the taxpayer, since it’s all supposed to support the schools.
I agree. First, there is the trust issue. I would not trust the inept school board or administration to know how to handle the money to construct an outhouse. What the school system needs is a group of engineers and architects to handle this project from start to finish. These individuals and firms will need to be paid for their services. Being on a board will disqualify their firms from bidding on the design and construction so it will likely require individuals and firms that are out of the immediate area to be willing to oversee such a project. This takes the project management completely out of the school system. If this type management group was established and the projects placed on a design-build option, it would accelerate the project and assure the taxpayer that the work was being properly managed. It will still take a miracle to meet the timeframes due to the review processes with the local and state government regulatory bodies that must interact with the engineers, architects and construction companies. While it is a shame that the schools have been allowed to reach such a state of disrepair, the potential for a successful solution based on the current concepts is slim.
Just another instance of the incompetence of the large government organizations. Consolation of school systems was a grossly mistake in all areas of the country. Nothing positive has resulted! Just like all government agencies.
Thanks John for this story. I have come to believe that our school board has no clue what is needed or even how to plan and spend our 300 million wisely and prudently. All they have to do is tell a bunch of lies about what is needed and where it will be spent. If you really cared about us the tax payer and the students you would lay out a spending plan over 15 years and a tax generation plan over that same time frame and hold yourself accountable to the plan. But I’m not holding my breath but I will vote no for this bond!
Why are the problems in the schools not fixed as they happen? They have people working for the schools that can fix problems, as they happen instead of waiting for them to become big projects. why are the problems not recorded and keep up with so people could look and see what problems schools have? Instead of the council or commissioner having to use their time to go to each school to find out what the problems are for political gain. People in there are not doing their jobs. When big projects come up hire competent people. This will not happen because it is just common since.
This is an issue that I agree with you on. The school board does not have a good track record. There needs to be a construction plan with goals and timetables and there needs to be some accountability.