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$2 billion dollar master facilities plan: what will it take to pay it?

Guilford County Schools had a joint facilities meeting with the Board of Education and County Commissioners to discuss how the proposed plan will be paid for.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — On Tuesday morning, there was another joint facilities meeting between Guilford County Schools, the Board of Education, and Guilford County Commissioners to discuss the future of the schools in our district. 

RELATED: Guilford County Schools and Commissioners meet to discuss the facility upgrades timetable, phases

The focus of this meeting was finances. 

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The Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the Guilford County School Board are considering a general obligation bond referendum to fund various school related capital projects. 

In addition to the potential bond referendum, the County is considering placing a 1/4 Cent Sales Tax on the ballot or, in the alternative, getting approval to place a 1/2 Cent Sales Tax on the ballot. 

If passed, the revenues generated from the Sales Tax would be used to help repay debt service associated with the general obligations school bonds. 

"I think as we’ve seen with what's happening in this state, it's hard to predict exactly where the ball is going to land," Board of Education Chair Deena Hayes said. "But I do feel very favorable about our ultimate goal, and that is what’s in the best interest of our students and our broader community."

County Manager Marty Lawing says they have to be very strategic as to what amount the voters will be likely to approve in a referendum this fall.

"It's not easy to get citizens to vote for a tax increase," Lawing stated. "We currently have no quarter cents sales tax approved, we’ve tried three times in Guilford county and it has not been approved."

But Lawing is hopeful this time around, because the money is for educational needs. 

Guilford County Schools says they intend to hold public input sessions to educate and answer questions, but no dates have been set yet.

At the meeting, the district went over four financial scenarios, with numerous sub-scenarios. These are all considerations at this time, and no one option is favored over another. 

"It’s a moving target but at least we got a central idea around how to make the biggest impact with the different options that we have now," Hayes explained.

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