GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County voters will decide next month on increasing the local sales tax by a quarter-cent to help fund education.
Many people attended a forum Wednesday night to hear from a panel of educators, county and state officials on the issue of funding education.
"It's a God-given right for our students to get the education they need," said Guilford Elementary teacher Todd Warren, a member of the panel. Warren called out state lawmakers for cuts to education, demanding they put education first in our state or get out of office. "We need to send people home," he said. "We cannot keep going like this with political tricks."
State lawmakers are under fire for cuts to public schools and claims of raising teacher pay. New, younger teachers will see an increase up to 7 percent while longtime educators will see little to no increase.
"I realize some teachers only got a small percent and that's the ones that have been their 20-30 years," said panel member and NC Representative Jon Hardister. "The teachers who got the largest pay increase are the ones 0-12 year. I would love to double teacher salaries."
Hardister told the audience he did not support a county tax increase pointing out Guilford County taxes are already higher than Mecklenburg and Wake County.
If voters approve a quarter-cent tax increase many want a guarantee from county leaders the money will be ear-marked for education only even though it will all go into the county's general spending fund.