Just in time to provide some emotional support for a $300 million school bond referendum that’s on the Nov. 3 ballot, on Thursday, Oct. 1, the Guilford County Board of Education and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners released a joint public statement in support of better facilities for the county’s school system.
The statement also endorses the proposed quarter-cent sales tax increase on the ballot – which is largely how the county is planning to pay the money back.
The statement was signed by Board of Education Chair Deena Hayes and Vice Chair Linda Welborn, as well as by Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips and Vice Chair Alan Perdue.
“As community leaders and elected officials in Guilford County,” it reads, “we stand united to support our schools. The time is now. We must join together to ensure that we have a safe and welcoming environment for our students to learn, grow and prepare for college, career and life. Strong schools create strong communities. Strong communities create a strong economy and a strong economy prepares us for a successful future. Visit Schoolbondfacts.com to learn more.”
The statement pledges that the school bond funds will be used to pay for new school construction, renovations and to fund needed land purchases.
Many area officials are pledging that the sales tax money would be used for school purposes. A lot of them wanted language to that effect on the November ballot, however, state law does not allow that. Though future Boards of Commissioners can use that money however they want, many people feel that making a highly public commitment will assure those funds are used for their intended purpose. The current Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution to that effect, however current boards cannot bind future boards.
The sales tax increase is estimated to generate nearly $20 million a year if it passes.
The statement from school and county leaders promises that the money will go where it’s most needed.
“In keeping with the district’s Facility Master Plan and priorities,” it says, “school facilities in the worst condition will be addressed first, with some adjustments made for construction phasing and swing space requirements while buildings are undergoing renovations or new facilities are being built.”