Quarter-cent tax proposed in Guilford County

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County voters are some of many in the Piedmont who will vote for or against a quarter-cent sales tax this election year.

The sales tax would equal a penny for every four dollars spent in Guilford County, adding up to an estimated $14 million annually for the county.

A group called the ¼ Cent for Schools Committee has posted billboards and yard signs encouraging people to vote "yes" for the tax, pushing the need for educational funding in public schools.

Guilford County Commissioners have pledged to use the money for education needs, but technically the dollars would go into the general fund.

"I think it's misleading people," said Lindsay Burkart with the Guilford County Republican Party. "There is a promise, but only a promise, that the money will go to education. There's no guarantee. There was no resolution made."

She added, "Voters need to know there's no guarantee this money will go to education now or in the future with a change or leadership and a change of County Commissioners."

Burkart opposes tax increases in general. "We want to remain economically competitive and we want to attract people by keeping taxes low and making it affordable to live in Greensboro."

She and other Republican Party members, such as former Chairman Marcus Kindley, also disagree with the way the school posted informational materials about the sales tax proposal.

"The Guilford County School System has engaged in an all-out promotion in favor of voting for the tax increase," Kindley wrote in an opinion piece for the WatchDogWire online.

Kindley points to the school district's website, which contains flyers and videos outlining why the money is needed and what it would be spent on.

But showing where the dollars would be spent is different than promoting that people vote in favor of the tax, said GCS Chief of Staff Nora Carr.

"We feel we have an obligation and a duty to inform the public, and to let them know about the needs of our schools and the needs of our school children," Carr told FOX8.

She added, "We are very careful to stay within the guidelines and within the rules. We don't tell people how to vote. We do educate and inform... How they vote is up to them. We do want people to participate in the democratic process, but we don't tell them how to vote."

Carr also said Commissioners in Guilford County and the School Board have pledged the money for public schools if the tax is approved by voters.