In the last three years, Guilford County voters have provided Guilford County Schools access to $2 billion to spend on school construction and repair, and the Guilford County commissioners want to make sure they know a whole lot about how that money is being spent.
To that end, the first official meeting of the Board of Commissioners in the New Year will be a meeting with the Guilford County Board of Education Joint Capital and Facilities Committee at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
The meeting will take place in the board room in the Guilford County Schools Administrative Offices at 712 N. Eugene St. in Greensboro.
The official stated purpose of the meeting is “to provide an update on project ordinances related to the school bond referendum,” but the discussion the commissioners have with school officials is expected to be much broader than is suggested in that terse statement.
Even though the voters have approved the money – $300 million in 2020 and $1.7 billion in 2022 – it is still the Guilford County Board of Commissioners that holds the purse strings. The commissioners say whether the money is actually raised in the bond market, how fast that happens if it does, and which projects the money will be spent on.
In 2008, the school system sought and got approval to raise over $450 million in a bond referendum. The school bonds were sold to voters before the election with one list of projects – however, after the election, the school board, citing changing circumstances, later nixed some of those projects, which upset many parents who came to the Board of Commissioners meetings to complain.
One thing the current school board has in its favor is that the Board of Commissioners has never been more sympathetic to the schools. Among the nine commissioners are a county school teacher, two former school board members and a chairman who’s a huge advocate of fulfilling the school system’s desires and meeting its needs.