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Forsyth County Schools considers $223M bond referendum

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Officials with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board say the system has more than $220 million in facility upgrades, repairs and replacements it would like to see county commissioners and voters agree on.

The school board has decided to present the $223 million list to Forsyth County Commissioners so negotiations can start on a school construction package to be included on the November ballot.

The proposed list sets aside $14 million for a new Brunson Elementary School, $14 million for a new Konnoak Elementary, and $13 million for a new Ashley Elementary.

Also included on the list is $17 million for technology upgrades and $17 million for football stadium upgrades at North Forsyth, Mount Tabor and Glenn high schools. $3 million would also be used to reconfigure Wiley Middle School so R.J.Reynolds High School Boosters can build a new football stadium there.

With Brunson and Reynolds both in the West End neighborhood, neighborhood president Mark Lively said his association will be watching the bond process -- especially since not everyone wants Reynolds to build a stadium in the neighborhood. 

"A greater issue to some of us is -- if you are going to spend money on education -- why on athletics when we are losing teacher positions?" Lively said. "It doesn't seem a wise way to spend taxpayer dollars to build and enhance stadiums. Reynolds does have a place to play football, they have been playing there for years."

While Lively agrees many schools need replacing and repairs, he worries a hot-button issue like the Reynolds football stadium may cast a shadow on the more important needs like technology upgrades. 

"I think we need to reassess whether (stadium renovations) should be part of package or not," Lively said. 

County Commissioners have the ultimate say as to what is on the ballot and if there is even a bond referendum at all.

The last time school bonds passed in Forsyth County was in 2006. The total package was for $250 million.