The 2021 holiday season is an excellent time to put off things until 2022.
However, Guilford County government didn’t put off its effort to convince county voters that they need to approve a $1.7 billion school bond referendum that will appear on the ballot in the 2022 primary election currently set for May 17.
The county’s website now features a prominent statement promoting the need for passage of the referendum and offering an account of how the money is intended to be used and people can look for more from the county on the issue using other methods of getting the word out.
Guilford County government can’t legally use public money to campaign in favor of adoption of the school bond referendum, but it is allowed to use its resources to provide information to the public about the bond. Every time county officials see a need for a bond referendum to pass, they walk a fine line by offering information in a light that at least tacitly endorses the referendum in question.
For instance, in the new push to get voters to approve the school bond, the information on the county’s web page notes that, “To address mounting facilities needs for our aging and outdated Guilford County public schools, a $1.7 billion bond referendum as well as a proposal for a quarter-cent sales and use tax, will be included on the ballot during the March 2022 primary election …The bond will allow for the implementation of a significant portion of our master facilities plan, including the construction of new schools, the rebuilding of existing schools on their current sites, full renovations of school sites, a major investment in safety and technology upgrades for all schools, and major repairs to schools with failing roofs, heat, air conditioning, and plumbing.”
The statement also notes that an independent study funded by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education found that over half the schools in the district were “in poor or unsatisfactory condition.” It adds, “The bond will help Guilford County Schools invest in the repair and renovation of deteriorating schools to help ensure every child has access to a safe and enriching learning environment.”
The ad – or, rather, information statement – is accompanied by photos (seen above) of problem spots in school buildings around the county.
It notes that approval of the bond and expenditure of the money will also result in greater school safety, and “improved student learning advice.”
The county’s statement also expresses the hope that the bonds will be paid for by a one-quarter cent sales tax increase that will also appear on the same 2022 primary ballot in Guilford County. Of course, county voters may – and are perhaps most likely to – pass the school bond but vote down the sales tax hike. After all, voters like school children but tax increases not so much.
Unlike voters in many other counties in the state, Guilford County voters have never approved a sales tax increase.
Former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson, who’s now running for the at large seat on the board, was raising alarm bells when he was a county commissioner and he’s continuing to do so now as a candidate. Branson stated that, if you spend $1.7 billion, you will need to find a way to pay that money back. He said that, when he was a county commissioner, he was provided with data noting that citizens can expect to see large property tax increases if the school bond passes – especially if the sales tax increase referendum does not.
I’ll repair those four little boo boo’s for $2000 and you can save the balance of that 1.5 billion dollars.
I’ll help you Storm $50 worth of mini- blinds and that’s being generous And a 1 inch bead of silicone to hold up a wall hung sink the maintenance person who did that repair should not have a job. Silicone and duct tape are never the answer for professional repairs
The school my wife works at used to have her come out when ever there was heavy rain since the roof leaked so bad. They placed garbage cans to catch the water. Multiply that all the school buildings and your 2k won’t cover repairs for a single school. Agree 1.7B sounds like a bit much but……
When I see these pictures of these buildings deteriorating it makes me wonder as a tax payer what has happened to the money we have given the school board in the past. What is different now that tells me if we invest 1.7 billion dollars in these schools that the school board will not ask for more because they have not kept the buildings in repair that we paid for. What the school board should be telling us is what they are planning on doing different that will keep these new or renovated buildings in repair. I certainly don’t believe that I have seen or heard anything that tells me I should invest this amount of money. Have you??
“‘INVEST’ 1.7 Billion Dollars”..?? You’re an optimist.
More like throw it down a black hole.
“Invest” is code for “tax”.
How will the bond referendum and the improvements help with the performance of the students in academics and testing? There is no doubt that the facilities are suffering. But so are the incredible performance issues that must be related to other issues such as a lack of discipline, teacher pay and morale and an every expanding administration. Before we pass this bond, the entire board needs to be replaced and a housecleaning in the administration starting at the top. We do not need to reward underachievement that continues to decline year after year. The public schools are at the root of the many problems that the young “graduates” have with finding beneficial employment. When you cannot read, write or perform simple math without a calculator, you have little chance of becoming a self sufficient adult that does not depend on hand outs from the government. Let’s see a plan on how the schools will improve the academic successes and then maybe we will have a yardstick to judge progress each year. Pass the bond package, but only allocate so much of the money each year. If the schools fail, then they do not get their money. Sound unfair? If I do not perform my job satisfactorily, I don’t get a raise each year.
You’re right “AB”, but it’s past time for the government schools to prove their competence. They can’t. They are a government monopoly – of incompetence, indifference, violence, bullying, sexual predation, financial profligacy, and – last but not least – political indoctrination.
If America is to have any hope for the future, the one thing that must be changed is the education system.
Aww… look here. There are a few down-at-heel items in the government schools. They have been poorly maintained, or not maintained at all. Which prompts the question “What happened to all the previous billions sucked up by the school system”? Why didn’t they fix a set of window blinds, or a detaching washbasin?
Could it be that government schools are a bottomless money pit – of incompetence?
What we have here is a “duh” moment. The only solution I know of is to stop sending them all that money. Any other suggestions on that one?
Agreed – 100%.
Just what is it that we can’t spend what the “powers that be” ALREADY HAVE before they got their hand out for another astrological amount of money? I’m all for education and safe clean up to date school buildings but it seems to me there is absolutely no accountability with these people. Frankly I’m sick of it and the way things are going alot of folks will be homeschooling anyway.
Window blinds? Really? One prime example used as proof they need an EXTRA 1billion 700 million dollars is window blinds? The sink coming loose is just the little darlin’s sitting on it in total disregard for taxpayer money. HINT: Never put a mirror behind a sink in teenagers’ bathroom. they sit on it to pop pimples and put on makeup.
That grubby looking door. Maybe a door to the Maintenace building? It does not look like a door students use on a regular basis. Nothing says longevity like a screen door hundreds of kids would use. Even Guilford Schools have more sense than that. I hope. However, it is just tacky enough to use as another example. What are we looking at there in that door photo? Some rain & rust damage because of cheap nails and a ripped screen? Perhaps the shop teacher can run some of his freshman students out there to fix all this stuff up. Use some better-quality materials this time.
Winter/spring of 2020, Regular Maintenace work was suspended because of covid. As a Guilford County taxpayer I am annoyed as there was absolutely no reason Maintenace could not continue to paint, repair etc. while the kids were not in the buildings during the covid lockdowns. Heat and air need repair? Shut it down and do a major overhaul. No one but Maintenace in the buildings anyway to get cold or hot. Nope, no, can’t use common sense.
Everyone home. Of course, the paychecks were not suspended. Guilford Schools’ large team of Maintenace workers continued to get paid. Yes indeedie. That is called Money for Nuthin’. Is there anything in these photos that cannot be addressed with a couple trips to Home Depot and handyman skills?
Is there any means to assess the actual use of bond monies from prior bonds from Guilford county?