Guilford County voters approved a $1.7 billion school bond referendum last May and another $300 million school bond referendum in 2020 for money that will go to capital projects for Guilford County Schools – and now Guilford Technical Community College wants a piece of the action as well.
GTCC officials have approached Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and informed him that the college will request a bond referendum of over $100 million be put on the ballot in 2024.
As of yet, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners hasn’t discussed the matter publicly, and no decision will be reached until mid-2023 as far as what amount the commissioners could agree to. However, some sources say that a $125 million ask is a likely amount. The Guilford County commissioners will get the ultimate say as to whether a bond referendum for GTCC will go on the ballot and, if so, how much.
According to Alston, one justification GTCC officials make regarding the request is the need to bolster workforce development given the number of new jobs coming into the area. A new Toyota battery plant will require workers with a certain skill set, as will Boom Supersonic – a company that plans on building supersonic jets at Piedmont Triad International Airport.
There are many other companies relocating to and expanding in Guilford County that are seeking skilled workers as well – putting new pressures on the area’s workforce.
If the Board of Commissioners, as seems likely, approves the bond referendum for GTCC, it could appear on the ballot as early as the 2024 primary.
It would seem logical to put major bond referendums on the ballot on election dates with the largest turnout, but some large bond referendums – like the $1.7 billion Bond referendum for Guilford County Schools last May – are put on ballots where a very small percentage of the population comes out to vote.
That’s by design. Highly motivated school bond backers are likely to show up when the bonds are on the ballot – while opponents might not make the effort to vote no if that’s the only issue of interest to them that election cycle.
Several years ago, when the Guilford County Board of Education was meeting with the Board of Commissioners and with consultants who were looking into the school system’s massive construction needs, the consultants told the two boards that having a very large bond referendum on the ballot in a low-turnout primary would increase the chances of it passing.