Guilford County Schools officials have notified Guilford County officials that the projects in a $300 million school bond will actually cost $450 million to complete – rather than the $300 million school officials planned for when the bonds were presented to and approved by voters in 2020.
Guilford County Manager Mike Halford met with county commissioners in small groups to make them aware of the situation and let them begin considering options.
For the nine-member Board of Commissioners, a quorum is five and those meetings must be announced and open to the public. However, since the number of commissioners at any meeting on this matter did not exceed four, those meetings could legally be held behind the scenes while everyone attempts to consider a solution.
Two sources in Guilford County government said that school officials would obviously like to see the county simply allocate the money from the county’s fund balance – aka, its savings account. However, some commissioners are obviously not keen on giving the school system another $150 million right after the schools got approved for $300 million by voters two years ago, $1.7 billion this year, and also received an extremely generous amount in the county’s 2022-2023 budget that was passed by the Board of Commissioners less than a month ago.
Currently, no solutions seem like good ones. Guilford County Schools officials do not want to start cutting projects from that bond referendum since it was approved by county voters based on those promised projects.
One solution under discussion is for the county to offer the schools a line of credit that would later be repaid from the $1.7 billion from the school bond referendum that was approved in the May 17 election this year. However, that bond referendum also has project commitments tied to it, so many people don’t want to pull money from that.
Also, a huge worry now is that if those projects in the $1.7 billion are as severely underestimated as those in the $300 million bond, then that would be another $850 million.
On Thursday, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston acknowledged that the county was attempting to work with the schools to address the problem.
Alston, who’s a major advocate for school funding, said that it’s not surprising that the projects called for in the $300 million bond are expected to come in 50 percent over budget. He said it’s the pandemic, supply chain issues, the increased costs of materials and other well-known factors. He said that a 50 percent increase is not that remarkable given today’s economy.
Alston said that, as someone who works in the real estate business, he is seeing these types of inflationary pressures everywhere.
“Prices have gone up 50 percent on a lot of things,” Alston said,
Others are not so understanding.
Republican County Commissioner Justin Conrad balked at the notion that the expanded cost can be blamed on the pandemic or on general economic conditions.
“50 percent?? 50 percent!?” Conrad said.
Conrad said there has been some inflation, but nowhere remotely close to the amount by which the schools missed the mark. He said he has many, many questions that he wants answers to.
The current situation is reminding some of a 2017 debacle where Say Yes Guilford massively underestimated the cost of providing college to all graduating high school seniors and had to completely abandon its original model.
It is a very difficult problem facing the county and the schools, but Alston said that it arose due to unforeseen circumstances and the county would be exploring its options in the coming weeks.
Did any sane person think this would not happen. Soon the 1.7 billion will be $3.5 billion and guess who will pay? Way to Guilford citizens soon nobody will be able to afford this place.
Skip calls this “unforeseen circumstances?” Unforeseen by the people who are supposed to be in charge and are paid to be able to made predictions. A 50% increase is unbelievable to be explained by COVID, materials, supply chain. If the projects have to be reduced in scope, so be it. Next time, don’t ask for a trip to Mars when you can only afford to go to the moon. This entire group including the school administration, the commissioners and the county budget officials need to go. It would be cheaper to send the students to private schools than keep funding this “public debacle”.
Surprised? – an emphatic “NO”!
It’s sad that this has become the ‘norm’ when it deals with money these days .. especially BIG amounts of money. Where does it all come from? Perhaps someone in Washington, DC has given away the secret. In any case, there is ONE word that seems to have disappeared from financial documentations (or just discarded by choice) and the word is AUDIT! What is the ‘track record’ of both CITY and SCHOOL budgets (or proposals) having been truly studied and then followed up by audits to assure taxpayers the ‘money was used properly?
The problem with the city and county schools is simple – they are run by the government. Private enterprise would do it much better, at a lower cost.
With some exception, our elected & appointed govt officials don’t know anything about construction, business, economics, etc. It’s just follow the party line that got you elected; so you can Lord it over people with your know-it-all-we know what’s-good-for-you elites.
Skip Alston, part of the Biden/Harris word salad regime
You get a “Bingo” on that one.
BS…and not surprised at all.
OH MY GOD – there is never enough money for government schools, or the entire Parasitic Sector.
These people are leeches.
Uh, yeah. These leeches were elected, so they will do as they please. Never the right thing.
No matter how much they take, it is never enough.
This is just an ongoing problem with the schools and their incompetence with handling money.Are all the people at the central office and the planing people at the central office stupid,including the Superintendent. All the money set aside for the schools in Guilford County, only a remodeling of central office was accomplished. I have talked with teachers in the county and their schools did not have air conditioning.Why haven’t work begun on these problems!!!!! Now we get this news that what the county could have bought at $300 million will cost $450 million.Who in this county is smart enough to make decisions that will utilize funds set up for schools.
Maybe the problem is that Democrats are totally in charge of everything in the county and they are as incompetent as the national Democrats are.
I firmly believe that there are some smart people in Greensboro and High Point and Jamestown that are tired of all the taxes added on to real estate and everything else , let’s get together and vote out all of the local Democrats and then in November vote out all the incompetence at the national level Please help me vote them out.
I once met an incompetent Republican – was it a mirage?
Vote yes on all bonds, but it’s doesn’t matter if you do or not there going to pass. Happy
Why do you care you don’t pay any taxes anyway. Dips ick
If you live, work, or visit here; you pay property taxes.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Perfect timing as we all got our tax bills today which mostly doubled due to unforeseen circumstances I’m sure.
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Wait until you tally the total bill after they borrow over & over on these two-thirds bonds. Wokesboro will be Brokesboro.
I’d say about 90% of the population doesn’t even know what a bond means.
I agree. May be over 90%.
I do, I have complete “Bond, James Bond”.
These people could not run a white house and make a profit!
But they can paint it blue.
Talk about predictable! Government and Schools are so poorly run here, no accountability required! They are a black hole where we shovel tax money in. Just look at that stupid museum we have been funding downtown for YEARS. When asked to produce audits they actually claimed they lost the computer and our council gave them more money anyway!! It’s such a joke. Everybody complains but they vote the same incompetent thieves in every single election.
Speak of doonboggles, I just received my tax bill. The same day, I recd three mailers soliciting votes from two council members; one from Marikay Abuzuaiter, and two from Nancy Hoffman (one of which looked handwritten, but was not). Thank you, ladies for the reminders about our recent tax increase; but they were a waste of your money, I done voted.
On another note, I just learned that our nation’s money supply increased from $15.5 trillion to $22 trillion from March 2020, thru June 2022 – 2-1/4 years. THAT is what Inflation is: the increase of the money supply. This statistic amounts to a 41.9% increase. Anyone who buys anything, or might read a YOY inflation chart, knows this.
Can you say $13,000 for a 2012 Accord with 160,00 miles? Plus, some retailers use the inflation excuse to gouge (Carvana?), in hopes that we will swallow it. The least we can do is become expert with pricing on the things we buy. If it is something we seldom buy (like new central A/C, or a new roof), then it pays to really check it out before making a decision.