School Board Chair And Vice Chair Respond To Linda Welborn’s Letter
Linda Welborn’s recent letter to the editor has some facts wrong. She and her “New Direction” co-conspirators are too willing to resort to misinformation and should be called the “No Direction” slate.
Linda twice voted “no” to school construction funding in an attempt to keep student and teachers in buildings that are falling apart. She voted “no” knowing our schools desperately require security upgrades. She voted “no” to the promise of economic development for Guilford County. Just like when she voted “no” to expanding career education pathways and increasing teacher pay.
Linda writes that increased costs on construction and school repairs are due only partly to “inflation” and more to poor project management. Yet, she cites no specific examples of poor project management. Project management is an elusive, non-specific thing she hopes will spark your hate. The “No Direction” candidates love to highlight what they hate.
Linda knows the inflationary numbers hitting construction locally and nationally. She participated in a board briefing on the topic. Linda is very aware that designs have been scaled back. Project management cut thousands of square feet off school designs.
Linda advocates for spending hundreds of millions of dollars replacing HVAC systems in schools that need to be renovated or rebuilt. She and her slate want to spend millions repairing roofs that sit atop crumbling walls. That’s horrible fiscal management.
We will invest hundreds of millions in school repairs and security upgrades. Some of those repairs will be Band-Aids until the right kind of re-construction can be done. We shouldn’t be in this situation. The NC state treasurer (a Republican) recently reviewed a chart of all the funds GCS had requested from 2014-2022 for maintenance and repairs. The request to maintain and repair the 12 million square feet of buildings the district operates was $107 million over nine years. The amount provided by the county? Just $49 million. Treasurer Folwell said, “Someone was asleep at the wheel.” We couldn’t agree more. It was the Republican controlled Board of Commissioners.
For years, business leaders advocated to commissioners to do more, but commissioners refused. Voters channeled frustration into action that led to changes in leadership and a change in our investment strategy. Linda Welborn and her “No Direction” slate campaigned against this investment with their “not now” slogan.
Finally, in her letter, Linda uses a scare tactic to make you think the superintendent has unfettered power to misappropriate funds. It’s simply not true. She is either lying or confused and either is a problem. The policy passed in 2022 requires that the superintendent reports to the board all change orders that were approved for contracts in excess of $300,000. Board approval is required for change orders involving amounts which exceed $500,000 or 10 percent of the original contract amount, whichever is less. all of the superintendent’s granted authorities are pursuant to NC state law. So again, are Linda and her friends lying or confused? Fortunately, the voters get to decide.
Deena Hayes-Greene, chair, Guilford County Board of Education, District 8
Winston McGregor, vice chair, Guilford County Board of Education, at large
Outside Money Involved in Guilford County School Board Race
Many Guilford County residents recently received mailers from Progress NC Action informing them that Linda Welborn and Tim Andrew, both candidates for seats on the local school board, are extremists who are pushing radical ideas due to their association with a local group Take Back Our Schools – GCS. Progress NC Action has also mailed almost identical items to voters in both Wake and New Hanover counties with similar messages about candidates in those areas.
Most voters agree school board elections should be local events. However, when an organization such as Progress NC Action based in Raleigh, with financial ties well beyond the state, injects their money and opinion into political races, one must wonder what is truly going on. Why is the local educational status quo so concerned about two candidates who are funded 100 percent by local donations that they must intervene?
Do your research. Check out Tim and Linda’s “radical” ideas that include academic excellence, parental involvement, supporting teachers, safe schools, and financial accountability on their websites before you vote.
Don’t let Political PACs influence local races. PACs are completely ignorant of what is happening in your local schools. PACs simply push a political agenda. PACs are not vested in your community. Vote Andrew and Welborn.
Tim Andrew, District 6 Guilford County Board of Education candidate
Finish Oil Pipeline
Why don’t the so-called smart people in Washington let the crude oil pipeline get finished out of Canada.
That is the safest way to move crude oil and it would sure help our country.