This summer, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston put out a proposal for school funding that didn’t go over well with some.

The proposal was made as Guilford County adopted its 2023-2024 fiscal year budget – in which about half of the county’s money went to funding education and paying off debt incurred by Guilford County Schools.

Alston’s proposal was this: Going forward, the cities of Greensboro and High Point, along with the county’s towns, should help pay the cost of running the schools.

In the past, Guilford County has been the local government responsible for funding the school system’s operations and new school construction, however a recent change in state law now allows for cities and towns to help with that funding.

While allowing it, the new law doesn’t require it – which means, Greensboro, High Point and other municipalities in the county will take a whole lot of convincing.

On Monday, August 7, Alston said it’s true that cities and towns have had a lukewarm reception to his idea so far, but he added that discussions on the matter haven’t really been conducted yet.

“After the State of the Community address on September 20, those discussions will get underway,” said Alston.

Alston plans to meet with the mayors of the county’s cities and towns and see to what degree they can help out when it comes to the costly endeavor of funding the schools.

“Think of it as a ‘One Guilford’ initiative,” Alston said.

Over the last two years, Alston has been attempting to get all the local governments in the county to think in terms of what’s good for the county as a whole.

Alston said he’s very well aware of one argument that he has heard and one that will come up in the talks this fall: Residents in the county’s cities and towns already pay county taxes, so they’re already contributing to funding area schools. If those cities and towns use their own tax money to give more to the schools, many argue, that would not be fair to the residents in those cities and towns who would be paying for the schools twice.

“I know there will be some pushback because of that,” Alston said, but he added that strong well-funded schools will benefit all parts of the county.

He also noted that the new law makes this funding stream possible and said that Guilford County government is already doing all it can to fund Guilford County Schools.