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Sales tax increase losing at the polls tonight

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Disappointment is setting in for some supporters of a quarter-cent sales tax increase in Guilford County, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

Early unofficial numbers show the referendum failing. With about 35 percent of precincts reporting, about 55 percent of the votes are against the increase.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted in June to let voters decide on raising sales tax to generate additional funds for Guilford County Schools.

The early numbers are “concerning,” said Anita Bachmann, campaign coordinator for the grassroots 1/4 Cent for Schools Committee.

She said she thought the vote would have been closer.

Doubt about whether revenue from a tax increase would go to public schools may have hurt the campaign, Bachmann said.

Meanwhile, she said, urgent needs remain for Guilford County Schools.

School leaders have said they would use the tax revenue to retain teachers, but classroom supplies and make needed safety and maintenance repairs to school facilities.

Rodney Shotwell, Superintendent of Rockingham County Schools added this:

“It is unfortunate the 1/4 cent sales tax did not receive enough votes to pass in Rockingham County. I appreciate the county commissioners’ willingness to place it on the ballot. There are several capital projects which would have benefited the school system, as well as the community college. The school board and the commissioners will have to review our options and make decisions on addressing the capital needs. It is our hope that the lottery funds for capital needs/debt service will be fully funded at the 40 percent level rather than the current 22 percent. If this were to happen it would be beneficial to both boards. The debt service concern would be less going into the 2015-16 fiscal year.”