Advocates of Guilford County Schools were delighted earlier this year when voters approved a $1.7 billion school bond referendum. But they were a lot less delighted when a protest by former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson challenged the election results, and then, once that hurdle was cleared, the NC Local Government Commission had questions the commission wanted answers to before it would allow the referendum money to be accessed.
School advocates were breathing a lot easier on Tuesday, Oct. 4 when the local government commission – better known as the “LGC” – finally voted to approve the sale of the bonds. The commission is a local government oversight body meant to, among other things, keep counties from getting too far into debt. And $1.7 billion is a whole lot of money even for a local government that has the legal right to take whatever they want from property owners each year.
This week, Guilford County government and Guilford County Schools’ officials issued a joint statement on the decision by the Local Government Commission to approve the county’s application to issue the school bonds. In it, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston stated: “We are making a historical investment in our future. The LGC’s vote to approve today allows us to work in partnership with our Guilford County Schools to quickly move our schools into twenty-first century learning. Our children deserve this. Our community came out to support this. Now it’s time to get to work delivering on the direction set out by our voters for the benefit of all our school children now and well into the future.”
Alston was a major backer of the school bond referendum and of giving the school system more county money in the county budget this year.
Guilford County Manager Michael Halford stated that county officials were very pleased by the LGC’s decision and noted that the money will be used “to repair, rebuild, and improve our schools to handle the safety and technology needs of today.”
Guilford County Schools Superintendent Whitney Oakley expressed gratitude to the county’s voters for approving the bonds and stated that the Guilford County Board of Education, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, community leaders and others would continue working together to improve the schools.