On Thursday, Jan. 31, representatives of Tallahassee-based MGT Consulting Group dropped a bomb on the Guilford County Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners.

The group, after a year-long study of the school system and its facilities, recommended major shifts in student populations, large capital repairs and construction projects – including construction of a new school in the county’s northwest – and a long list of other recommendations that would, if all implemented, cost an estimated $1.478 billion.

That amount would cover all four phases of the recommended changes that the school board may or may not adopt – and that the county commissioners may or may not help fund.  The most immediate Phase 1 recommendations total about $962 million.

It was obvious from some of the feedback and questions at the meeting that school and county officials have a large number of concerns about the recommendations and there will no doubt be a huge amount of feedback from parents at the next school board meeting.

The joint meeting with monumental implications for the school system started shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Guilford County Schools administrative office on North Eugene Street, and the two boards knew from the start that they were in for quite a ride because one of the very first statements from MGT representatives was that the school and county officials should not let what they are about to hear scare them.

MGT Group was hired almost a year ago to the day of the meeting to conduct the comprehensive study of the entire school system with regard to school use, facilities needs, security enhancements and other aspects of the educational system.