Can’t trust ’em

Pardon the usage of slang, but it is appropriate for this post.

The News & Record has a story today on just why the level of distrust between the Guilford County School Board and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is probably at its highest level since 2000.

Maybe it is because between both boards, the level of professionalism just isn’t there–you think a school board meeting is difficult to sit through sometimes, try watching a Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting; you’ll probably need to send your children away from the television.

An excerpt:

It wasn’t always like this, of course. It was once worse.

In 2000, the two boards deadlocked over a schools budget; the two were $7 million apart.

Unable to break the impasse, the school board sued the commissioners. Ultimately, the two settled for an extra $2.5 million for schools on the eve of a trial.

As part of that settlement, the two boards agreed to create a budget subcommittee made up of members from each side. The idea was to open up communication and talk about school needs ahead of time.

That worked for a little while. It helped voters — twice — say yes to $500 million in school construction bonds after 20 years of saying no.

But cooperation has waned in recent years. Talk about money has been particularly contentious this year. Commissioners have snubbed school board members three times this year at the bargaining table.

This is a sad state of affairs in Guilford County politics.

Another excerpt:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.[School Board member Anita] Sharpe attributed the friction to the county’s constitutional authority to fund much of the district’s expenses instead of letting a school system tax residents on its own.

Sharpe said this naturally pits the nonpartisan school board against partisan commissioners.

Uh oh! Code words here… sounds like she’s in favor of granting special taxing authority to the school board, something I VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE! I mean, can you imagine GCS having its own taxing authority?
More from the article:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Commissioners Billy Yow, a Republican, and Skip Alston, a Democrat, have their own theory: Guilford County Schools hides too much “fluff” in its budget requests and has botched construction projects, they said.

For example, Jamestown residents are still waiting for the construction of a new middle school that was promised to them during a 2003 bond but was postponed because of construction cost increases on other projects.

Yow, who frequently rails against what he perceived as district excesses, compared the school board to a “drug addict that can’t get enough.”

“How do you assure the public you will do the right thing when you haven’t done it before?” Yow said.

Yow has a point. Skip has a point. To me, this bond is in big trouble. But again, we’re left to wonder why Forsyth County’s two boards can get along? And it seems the two boards in Wake County also have a professional relationship.


[County Commissioner Carolyn] Coleman said some in the black community are frustrated about the lack of construction work going to minority businesses. School board member Deena Hayes, upset over minority participation rates, has said publicly she won’t support another bond.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.In my opinion, Deena singlehandedly sunk next year’s bond with her constant bad behavior.

Let’s try to make today, a Deena-free day.

With all this, my friends, it is time to continue to advocate for a complete overhaul to the school funding formula. It is not working and it is truly short-changing our children. It begins at the state level and it continues down to the county level. We need to start electing leaders who will put our children first and start devising a strategy to properly and adequately fund our schools. The job is not getting done. And the only thing this is doing is creating more bad-blood between two boards who should be working together instead of behaving badly.

E.C. 🙂


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