GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County school system staff report that if the quarter-cent sales tax passes in November the money would be used for overdue maintenance repairs, keeping teachers and teacher assistants and assist with supplies.
Guilford County Maintenance Director Gerald Greeson said the district is at a pivotal stage when it comes to the repairs needed and upkeep of the student's learning environment.
More than 60 percent of the school district's HVAC systems are more than 50 years old. Thirty to 40 of the districts boilers that keep students warm are also more than 50 years old.
High Point Central is one of the district's oldest schools, built in 1927. The school's auditorium is one of 14 in the county that suffers from water intrusion. The plaster on the ceiling and roof are slowly deteriorating and has the potential to collapse.
“Unfortunately that's typical for a lot of our roofs. We have 14 roofs right now throughout the district that are experiencing this type or worse type of water intrusion," Greeson said. “If we don't do something now then we're going to have to face serious deterioration in our buildings and our children's classroom environment is going to be compromised very drastically in my mind."
Assistant Principal Wendy Pfeiffer-Quaile said the need for the quarter-cent sales tax affects the learning and progression of students.
Pfeiffer-Quaile said that many of the elective classes have been cancelled and graduation coach positions have been taken away at High Point Central to make way for more core classes. This school year High Point Central has seen an increase of 100 students thus increasing the class sizes to at least 34 students.
"We have students sitting at teacher desks, we have students sitting at a chair by a table at the window. So it’s too crowded and teachers can't give individualized, differentiated instruction to a class that large," Pfeiffer-Quaile said. “Having overcrowded classrooms is not doing what's right for students and it’s not helping them get what they need from teachers so they can be successful in school."
In 2008 voters approved $457 million in bonds. The bonds are supposed to be used for new and improvement projects, just facility items, and not for operations, classrooms or for routine maintenance and repairs.
Since 2008 $46.6 million have been cut from state funding for Guilford County Schools.