It’s striking how everyone jumps into action when $1.7 billion is on the line.
After Guilford County voters approved the large bond referendum in May to build new schools and improve existing ones, no one seemed to consider that there might be some resistance from the North Carolina Local Government Commission (LGC) – which, among other things, oversees local government debt to make sure that counties, cities and towns don’t get in over their heads.
But the commission had a host of questions for county and school officials at a Tuesday, Oct. 4 meeting and voted to approve; however, it’s come to light now that much of that effort came behind the scenes the day before the meeting with the LGC.
On Monday, Oct. 3, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston sent a “Unity Statement” to local government officials across the county.
“I write to you today seeking your support of our schools,” Alston began his request. “Guilford County will be presenting to the LGC Tuesday for final approval of our voter approved school bonds. It is my hope that we can come together, once again, as One Guilford to show our unified support for Guilford County’s voter approved school bond package. As current Mayors and community leaders, I know you recognize the urgent and longtime need to improve our school facilities. We recognize the tremendous responsibility voters have entrusted to the county to fund the significant infrastructure needs in county schools and are committed to working together with all our partners to support this investment in our community’s children.”
They did come together: A large number of local elected leaders and community leaders signed the statement of support that Alston requested. The document Alston sought support for – and got in droves – stated that Guilford County has prepared “a fiscally responsible repayment plan that uses existing revenue sources for repayment.” One of the concerns of the LGC was that Guilford County voters, in the same May election in which they passed the giant school bond referendum, voted down a sales tax increase meant to help pay the cost of the new school debt.
“The County is already setting aside funding for the debt repayment and the three independent national rating agencies recently reaffirmed the county’s AAA GO [General Obligation] Bond rating,” the statement of support noted, “demonstrating Guilford County’s consistently responsible approach to managing the county’s financial position.”
Alston asked local leaders to respond to him directly, or through Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller, by 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, to have their name added to the unity statement that would be presented to the LGC later that day – and would ultimately help convince the commission members to approve allowing the county to issue the bonds.
Please Lord, help Guilford County and Greensboro these next 4 years. Amen!
Only time will tell, but betting it will be to late. Just waiting to read your stories on waste, fraud and poor management. You can throw all this money at the schools but the federal government has been doing that for decades and you see what you have. Let us know when equity grading starts.
There are actually people who think critically? Get out! Obviously, they lose, as do the rest of us who actually ponder deep thoughts.
I still stand by my earlier comment that, iI don’t trust the Board of Education, or the County Commissioners, with this kind of money. If we had proper management of facilities and budget, our schools would not be in the shape they are in!
Would the Rhino Times be able to obtain/publish a listing of those who signed the unity statement (including their “leadership” role in the community) and a separate listing of the demographics (age, sex, race, property owners vs. non-property owners, etc.) of voters who approved the school bond?
You can make a Public Records Request to the county for a copy of the list. However, the details you are looking for will not be there. If the details were there, I think you would find the names of a large number of A&T and other college students, members of certain churches and a lot of non-property owners. I have always opposed college students voting in local elections when their home address is not Greensboro. People who are in favor of students voting in local elections believe that the students will not be voting in their hometown. People who believe that are either naive or know it’s a real probability but do not care that there may be double voting. Why does one think that the outcome of particular elections is a reflection of Greensboro’s and Guilford County’s long-term residents? Where do certain politicians muster up the needed numbers to pass certain ballot initiatives or election outcomes? Why are students with home address other than Greensboro or Guilford County allowed to vote on bond issues? When students sign up to vote, they should sign a statement attesting that they are not registered to vote in any other location and will not be voting in another location. In fact, that statement should be required for all who register to vote. A violation of this statement should be considered a felony. Voting integrity is very important. Lack of voting integrity resulted in Joe Biden and all who are behind the curtain.