Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston is calling for a 1 cent property tax increase in the 2019-2020 county budget with all of the proceeds to go to Guilford County Schools.  Alston said on Tuesday, June 4, that the schools need more money than they would get in the county manager’s proposed budget announced last month, and he added that a 1 cent tax increase for that purpose would raise just over $5 million.

“We need a 1 cent tax increase designated for the schools,” Alston said this week. “They need more than is proposed in the manager’s budget.”

Alston said that raising taxes 1 cent per $100 of assessed property value would greatly help the schools but would not be felt by property owners.

“They wouldn’t even recognize it,” he said, adding that it was “candy bar” money.

Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing’s proposed budget calls for keeping the county’s property tax rate flat at 73.05 cents per $100 and spending $313 million for education and education debt – which includes funding for Guilford County Schools and Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC).  Roughly 45 percent of the county’s budget already goes toward Guilford County Schools and paying off debt for the school system.

With the Guilford County Board of Commissioners dominated by a 5 to 4 Republican majority who despise tax increases, Alston has a very tough hill to climb if he’s going to get any sort of increase in the new county budget that will be approved later this month.

Republican Commissioners point to the fact that, without raising taxes, the board has been increasing school funding every year since the Republicans won a majority in 2012 – and that’s not something the Democratically controlled board in the years prior to 2012 could say.

Lawing proposed for the county to fund $206 million for school system operations – that’s a $4 million increase over the amount in the county’s current budget.  That would increase per-student funding from $2,563 to $2,568

The Guilford County Board of Education has requested $16 million in new county money in the coming fiscal year over the amount in the current fiscal year.  Alston said this week that $5 million in additional money from a 1 cent tax increase wouldn’t give the schools everything they need this year but would help close the gap.

Advocates for more school funding will have a chance to make their case to the Board of Commissioners at a public hearing on the manager’s proposed budget on Thursday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the commissioners second-floor meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro.