The Guilford County Board of Commissioners met with the Guilford County Board of Education on Monday, Oct. 23 to discuss the school systems’ current progress on construction and repair projects as well as the system’s need for funds.
School officials are already putting millions of dollars in bond money to use and, come February of next year, they’ll have another $180 million in the bank in order to move forward with a host of desired capital projects.
Actually, the Guilford County government will hold that money in the bank until the Board of Commissioners approves its transfer – in portions – to the schools to pay for projects on an as needed basis.
Guilford County voters approved a $1.7 billion school bond referendum in the 2022 election, but this money isn’t coming from that referendum. The $180 million the county will raise with the sale of bonds early next year is the remainder of the $300 million school bond referendum that county voters approved in 2020.
At the meeting, the commissioners also discussed issuing $510 million dollars in school bonds in late 2024 or early 2025. However, school officials said it’s not clear at what rate Guilford County Schools will be able to spend the money since it has been very hard to find contractors in the current economic environment.
Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said at the meeting that these repair, security and construction projects for the school system are very important and school officials should find a way to move things along faster.
“Go out of state if you have to,” Alston said of finding builders and other providers needed for these projects.
Alston said after the meeting that he felt certain there were workers and companies who would take these jobs, but that school officials seemed overly focused on using local and state contractors and builders.
The county doesn’t want to raise money through bond sales before the funds are needed because, as soon as the county sells the bonds, that bond debt starts accruing interest that the county will have to pay back along with the principle payments.