Guilford County Schools Plan Next Steps After Defeat At Polls

Guilford County Schools Plan Next Steps After Defeat At Polls

7:57pm Nov 05, 2014

A referendum that would have raised the sales tax in Guilford County to help fund improvements in public schools failed to pass on Tuesday's election. Now, school officials look at how to fill the funding gaps from the state and local level.

The referendum would have increased the county sales tax by a quarter of a penny. That doesn't sound like much, but with a big sales tax base, it would have raised $14 million a year.

Maurice “Mo” Green, the superintendent of Guilford County Schools, isn’t sure exactly why the measure failed, but he says it may be because voters weren’t sure where the money would end up. “Certainly, people have suggested to me that there were concerns about what the county commission would actually use the money for and would it be given for public school funding if it did pass.”

Because of sales tax laws, the ballot didn’t specify how and where the money would be used. But Green says the county promised that it could go to schools to do things like assist teachers, buy school supplies and textbooks and address maintenance and repairs at school buildings throughout the district. He says school officials will now lobby lawmakers for more support.

“If we want to be sure that we are delivering a high quality educational opportunity  for each and every one of our students, then they need to understand that requires resources. And at this point, it will require additional resources,” say Green.

Guilford County is the third largest public school system in the state and it's growing. The district has seen significant budget cuts over the past six years. It's been forced to eliminate hundreds of positions and consolidate programs and classroom sizes.  

Green says more cuts may be needed in the next fiscal year if something doesn’t change.

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