It’s virtually impossible to argue that in the past few years Guilford County government hasn’t done all it can to fund Guilford County Schools.

The commissioners have added supplements to teacher pay, funded school operations with amazing generosity, helped pass $2 billion in school bonds for construction and added millions more in county money to beef up school security.

Now, as the Guilford County Board of Commissioners goes into the final stages of putting together its fiscal 2023-2024 budget, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said it’s time for state legislature to provide more funding for the schools.

The major debate regarding the funding of Guilford County Schools is almost always focused on how much money Guilford County government will provide the schools.  However, the school system actually receives most of its funding from the state – and Alston said this week that there are still a lot of needs not being met in the schools.

He said he wants state government rather than Guilford County to do more.

“The teachers are still underpaid,” Alston said, adding that other school employees were as well though he added there had been some progress made in raising the wages of “classified” employees such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

The current Guilford County Board of Commissioners – that includes a teacher and two former school board members – is very school funding friendly. However, the county’s supply of money for the schools is not infinite.  In the current Guilford County budget, 48 percent of the money expended goes toward education.  It’s very likely that soon more than half of the county budget will go toward education.

In the current 2022-2023 budget for Guilford County Schools, the operating budget (which doesn’t include construction and repair) totals out at just under $1 billion. Of that amount, $473,635,202 comes from the state, $252,002,182 comes from Guilford County, and $274,068,361 comes from the federal government.

The Board of Commissioners have certainly put its money where its mouth is – or, rather, put the county taxpayer’s money where its mouth is – and now Alston wants to see the NC General Assembly do the same.

He said he has been in talks with state legislators to encourage them to carry more of the burden of school funding going forward.