Oak Ridge Town Councilmember George McClellan is seeking the District 3 seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
He’s not running for the Guilford County Board of Education, but that didn’t stop him from making the school system and its spending one of his key areas of focus this week. On Wednesday, March 16, McClellan called publicly for the state auditor to audit the Guilford County school system.
A press release from McClellan’s campaign stated, “The State Auditor has a responsibility to ensure that money is being spent responsibly and correctly throughout our state. With the recent news of the Guilford County Superintendent leaving Guilford County Schools, it is appropriate to do a financial review of where our county schools stand financially and to ensure money isn’t being wasted.”
In the campaign, so far this year, McClellan, a Republican, has often questioned the way the county’s school system spends its money. He’s facing Guilford County Board of Education Member Pat Tillman and Dan Suter from Summerfield in the Republican primary for the District 3 seat in May.
The statement from the McClellan added, “Traditionally, money allocated by the County and State has been hard to track within the school system.”
School funding is a major topic of discussion in Guilford County right now because voters are being asked to approve a $1.7 billion school bond referendum on the ballot in May – the same ballot McClellan will be on.
McClellan asked in the press release, “Why hasn’t the auditor already audited the schools? I think it has to do with the fact the NCAE [North Carolina Association of Educators] has supported her campaigns. Parents and students should be above the political pressure and deserve funds to be spent correctly, responsibly and get to the students.”
McClellan went on to pledge that, if he’s elected as the next District 3 Guilford County commissioner, he’ll make certain that school funding is made transparent and won’t be used to fund “more bureaucracy in the central office.”
McClellan may do his best in that regard but, over the years many, many county commissioners have been frustrated by the fact that, once the commissioners hand over more than $200 million to the schools in the budget each year, the school system spends it in the way the Guilford County Board of Education wants rather than the way the commissioners want. In some cases, however – such as with bond referendum money – the school officials must get approval from the Board of Commissioners before spending money on a project.