Welborn Responds To Response To Her Letter
The chair and vice chair of Guilford County Schools should be able to provide a more substantiated rebuttal directed at me alone. That was quite the tirade. Simply put, we have a difference of opinion.
This News & Record article clearly states the increased spending levels given to the superintendent in June 2021.
When selling the $300 million bond to Guilford County taxpayers, GCS stated it would cover 11 projects. Now, at least two projects have been pushed to the $1.7 billion bond.
Two projects, Allen Jay Elementary, allocation of $5.21 million, and Sternberger Elementary, allocation of $3.82, have been moved to the $1.7 billion bond scope. Together these two projects equal $9.03 million.
WFMY News2 verifies an additional $170 million is now needed due to increased cost and “other factors.” Add the $9.03 million allocated cost for the two projects removed from the scope of the $300 million bond and you have an estimated overage of $179 million, which is close to a 60 percent increase. No one denies Guilford County Schools building needs or the major inflation.
The question, “Is inflation alone the cause of a 60 percent cost overrun?” In my opinion, no. Based on discussions in meetings I attended as a seated member of the Board of Education, additional design elements and project management missteps also contributed to the huge increase. It was clear in June 2021, when the financial policy was modified, I felt the board was not being fiscally responsible. My opinion has not changed. Seeing the building designs I felt they were extravagant, a term I used during one of the updates of the $300 million bond, and I asked if they were being designed within the funding allotment for the projects.
There have been discussions about project management missteps. I didn’t support the $1.7 billion bond because of all the above. Property owners are looking at an estimated 30 percent increase in property taxes. Strong project management is important. I have disagreed on many issues and statements many times, however, I have always been respectful in my responses.
We can agree to disagree.
End Nightmare Of Nuclear Destruction
The nightmare of nuclear destruction hangs over Ukraine and all of us. Only changing our ways of thinking can save us. As Einstein warned: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
However, in the US the Pentagon expands, the State Department shrinks, and militarism blocks diplomacy. Both Biden and Putin may say that a nuclear war cannot be won, but their nuclear stockpiles, nuclear war games and veiled threats suggest they are still trapped in destructive thinking. Weapons are on hair trigger alert, automated to respond. Rhetoric is ratcheted up. Remarks that we won’t negotiate with Putin is a demand for regime change that ignores past US failures down that path.
When we faced a nuclear standoff during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 60 years ago this month, it was compromise that saved us. Kennedy, later advised, don’t back your enemy into a corner. Missiles left both Cuba and Turkey.
Since the possibility is nuclear winter and humanity’s suicide, we must get our weapons off hair trigger alert and stop suggesting Armageddon, nuclear revenge, is inevitable. We must press for a ceasefire and negotiations in Ukraine. Diplomacy means tough compromise and dealing with Russia’s demand not to have nuclear weapons and NATO on their border, but a settlement is better than fueling more deaths, destruction, and hunger, and heightening nuclear risk.
We can press the nine nuclear powers to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, already signed by 91 nations and ratified by 68. This treaty would wake us from the nuclear nightmare and could lead us away from using war to problem-solve.