Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and other commissioners were scheduled to tour Grimsley High School on Wednesday, March 9.

However, the county announced the night before that it would not be happening due to a “scheduling conflict.”  The tour was one in a long line of school tours meant to show the needs in the Guilford County Schools system so that voters will approve a $1.7 billion school bond on the ballot for the 2022 primary election in May.

The cancellation shows how important media participation is for the tours. The main goal, in fact, is to have the media inform the public about the schools’ problems.

The tour was originally scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, however, Alston said, Grimsley’s principal had a conflict at that time and proposed the tour be moved up an hour.  Alston said he didn’t want to do that because the media had already been informed of the 4:30 p.m. start time and the change would likely result in no media coverage or less media coverage.

According to Alston, the event will now take place on Wednesday, March 16.

He said that the tours of schools in bad condition are very important because the county’s school system has a real need for the $1.7 billion on the ballot.  Alston said he knows it’s a big ask of county voters but he added that the money will be well spent.

“The reason it’s a big number is that there are 126 schools – and they all have needs,” Alston said.

He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” voters will approve the measure.

Voters did pass a $300 million school bond referendum two years ago and the school system only recently started spending that money.  The bonds approved in the 2020 election have yet to be sold, but a small portion of the money has been advanced to the school system by the county.