If the $1.7 billion bond referendum for Guilford County Schools construction and repair projects doesn’t pass, it won’t be because Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston isn’t trying hard enough. 

Alston is doing everything he can to encourage voters to pass the school bond referendum that will be on the ballot in the 2022 primary election currently set for May 17, and this week Alston went on another tour of an aging school with reporters in tow.

His idea, of course, is to highlight all the leaky roofs, moldy basements, broken lockers, loose doors and many other problems found in the most rundown schools. Alston was doing that again on Wednesday, Feb. 16, when he toured Jackson Middle School and met with Principal Katrinka Brown to discuss the need to rebuild the school – one of the school system’s many planned projects if the voters give the county $1.7 billion to hand over to the schools.  

Alston – and many other county commissioners – would also like to see voters approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase to help pay for the bonds. That item will also be on the ballot on May 17 along with the bond referendum.

Alston said after viewing the conditions at Jackson middle school that he saw more clear evidence that the school structure was on its last legs.

“It’s an embarrassment,” Alston said of the condition of the school.  “It needs to be torn down.”

The commissioners toured the middle school at 2200 Ontario St. in Greensboro at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16. Alston has been taking a tour of area schools in the worst condition since last fall when the Board of Commissioners gave the final vote for the giant school bond to go on the ballot.  Sometimes he’s accompanied by other commissioners as well, though this week he toured solo.

Alston makes it a point at nearly every county commissioners meeting to publicly press for the bonds since, he says, aging schools in the county have been neglected for decades.