Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said on Tuesday, June 6, that it’s time the cities of Greensboro and High Point, and all Guilford County’s towns, to help fund Guilford County Schools.

Alston said the cities and towns benefit from that service, that school needs are outgrowing Guilford County’s ability to fund those needs, and a change in state law several years ago allows school funding from the cities and towns.

“Greensboro could give $5 million or $6 million,” Alston said.  “High Point could give $5 million or $6 million.  The towns could give something.  We are all in this together.”

Alston said that, after this current county budget is put to bed in a week or so, he’s calling a meeting of the mayors in the county to get everyone on board with a plan to share the responsibility of funding the schools.

Alston’s statement to the Rhino Times came after a long June 6 Board of Commissioners work session at which school officials continued to ask for $101 million in additional money for operations over last year, while the commissioners discussed how much more to give the schools.

Right now, it’s anyone’s guess and Alston said that they will get something over the county manager’s recommended $0 increase, but it would not be anywhere even close to what school officials were asking.

Earlier this year, Alston encouraged school officials and members of the public to put more pressure on the state to give more money to school systems– and, starting with the fiscal 2024-2025 budget, he wants to see funding coming from the cities and towns.

The meeting of mayors, which will take place after July 1 when the new fiscal year begins, will be, Alston said, a continuation of his “One Guilford” initiative, which attempts to get all the local governments in Guilford County to work together to solve various problems.

He also said that, at the meeting, he is going to push for a new sales tax increase to be put on the ballot.

“That would raise $20 million a year,” Alston said, “and we could use the money to raise salaries.”

Alston said he knows a sales tax referendum has failed every time it’s been put on the ballot in Guilford County. However, he added, if all the mayors and town leaders work together, they will be about to convince citizens to vote in the new tax.