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Explaining the GCS school bond referendum ahead of May's primary election | 2 Wants to Know

Two Guilford County Schools representatives explain what the bond would do for schools and how they plan to pay for it.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina primaries are less than two months away. You'll be able to vote for several races such as the mayoral and the congressional primary. You also have a chance to vote for a bond allocating $1.7 billion to Guilford County Schools.

The district said it needs the money to repair schools in poor condition. Along with the bond referendum, you can also vote on whether to approve a 0.25% sales tax increase.

We spoke with Dr. Whitney Oakley and Rev. Frank Thomas ahead of May's primary election to learn more about the measures.

Oakley and Thomas said a 2019 study conducted jointly by the school board and Guilford County Commissioners found more than half of schools in the district were in poor or unsatisfactory condition. It concluded the school system needed more than $2 billion to make all repairs.

If voters approve the bond, the money would fund three new schools, rebuild 18, and fully renovate 13, according to GCS.

Thomas explained the sales tax increase would not apply to gas, prescriptions, groceries or car sales. He said the additional money from the tax increase would not totally cover the bond, but it would help. Thomas said if the sales tax does not go up, it's more likely property taxes would need to go up to pay for the bond.

Oakley said part of the reason the bond is so high is because the school district didn't get all the capital funding it asked for in past years. She said they had to defer maintenance due to lack of funding.

Thomas said the 2019 study found GCS had $800 million in deferred maintenance.

Election Dates

  • Mail-in ballots started going out Monday.
  • Early voting begins April 14.
  • Early voting ends May 14.
  • The primary is May 17.

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