GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – Broken toilet seats, leaky ceilings, bugs and peeling paint are just a few of the major problems at Guilford Middle School in Greensboro.
For years, the school has worked with limited funds to make as many patches and repairs as possible, but the school district says conditions are now so bad it needs to build a new school altogether.
Superintendent Mo Green says the school is a perfect example of why adequate capital outlay funds are essential for maintaining schools in the district. And the current allotment of funds is inadequate, he believes.
That’s why Green is asking County Commissioners for $10 million in capital funds for next school year. Ten years ago, the district got $11 million for that specific budget. For the last two years, it received $2 million annually to maintain 126 schools and an ever-increasing number of square feet.
His recommended 2014-2015 budget of county funds totals $197.1 million. In addition to the capital outlay fund increase, also includes $19.9 million more than last year for operations, salary increases, school supplies and security.
“We’ve got to begin to reverse some trends that have been occurring over the last few years with regards to our budget,” Green insisted. “Over the last four years, we have requested from the Board of County Commissioners approximately $30 million in additional resources for operating. We have received slightly less than $2 million of that.”
Per pupil funding has also decreased on what Green referred to as a “downward spiral.”
Kaila Crowder is the SGA President at Guilford Middle School. As an eighth grader, she’ll never attend the new replacement school when and if it is built.
But her own experiences in the deteriorating buildings prompted her to make a speech to Commissioners in their meeting last week. She described the bugs and leaky roof. She remembered water dripping on her from the ceilings.
“I saw in some of the commissioners’ face how they were like wow, she’s really standing her guard and really wanting to make a change in her school,” Crowder told FOX8.
Seventh grade Language Arts teacher Casey Pruitt has more than a few concerns about current conditions.
“A student who is trying to do what they’re supposed to do in class and a roof is falling in, or water is dropping on their paper? That is a major distraction for any student,” Pruitt said.
“Our school system has fully backed us,” Pruitt said. “We’re just waiting on commissioners to make a decision.”
That decision will be whether to fund nine priority school projects GCS identified for major construction or replacement. Guilford Middle School is on the list to be rebuilt.