GREENSBORO, N.C. — Governor Roy Cooper is pushing for a $2 billion dollar school bond.
Another state lawmaker, Senate Leader Phil Berger, is pushing back.
Governor Roy Cooper wants to put a school bond on the ballot so people can decide whether to fix our old schools and build new ones. The Governor says North Carolina schools K-12 need at least $8 billion dollars in construction or renovations.
Cooper used this metaphor:
"Skimming money that should go to teacher pay raises and other school funding is like using your gas money to buy a car. A successful school bond is a smarter way to do business because it locks down financing now and still leaves funding to get good teachers and principals in the classrooms.”
Senator Phil Berger disagrees.
He fired back with this metaphor:
"It will cost $1.2 billion in debt interest payments to get $1.9 billion through a bond. That's like using your gas money to start a fire."
Instead of a bond, Berger wants to see money get appropriated to fix up or build new schools. He supports proposed legislation called the Building NC's Future Act, which provides more than two billion dollars for school construction and maintenance. Berger says the Building NC's Future Act will be faster, cheaper, and provides more money than a bond would.
Guilford County Schools superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras testified before members of Congress last week, saying our schools are in dire need of fixing.
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The Guilford County Board of Education sponsored an independent study on how much it would cost the school system to fix or rebuild our current schools.
That number was estimated at $1.5 billion dollars.
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"1.5 billion, no county government or community can take that on at one time," Dr. Contreras said.
State lawmakers are considering adding the school bond as a ballot referendum in 2020.