GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Local schools have deterioriated over the years. They need repairs, remodeling and rebuilding.
The work that Guilford County Schools can get done is dependent upon whether or not the GCS “SMART” bond passes on the ballot in November.
Approval of the $300 million loan, in the form of a bond, will set aside money to make the necessary changes to the facilities across the school district.
“You don’t want your kids to go back into a school where there’s a leaky roof. You don’t want your kids to go back into a school where the HVAC doesn’t work,” Adam Tarleton said.
His kids are 11 and 13 and are learning from home right now.
They used to attend Jones Elementary School and would have returned to class at Brown Summit Middle School.
Tarleton said both schools had issues.
“There were roof problems. Constant roof problems,” he explained. “If it rained, there were buckets out in the classroom.”
Leaky roofs are among the list of issues at 65 schools in Guilford County.
That’s not all Tarleton is concerned about.
“We live in the 21st century. You’re interviewing me from your car on Zoom. Our schools right now are not set up for that,” he added.
Tarleton is in favor of the GCS “SMART” bond.
The bond would fund part of the district’s Facilities Master Plan aimed at making all of the schools “Safe, Modern, Accessible, Renovated, and Tech-Ready.”
“Technology has advanced and schools have not. It’s going to have a more glaring impact on us,” Tarleton said.
He believes that impact is long term.
“When businesses are looking into coming into the Triad, they want to know that they’re going to be able to attract top employees,” Tarleton said. “If those employees are looking at our schools and see they need $2 billion just to get caught up, that’s not an attractive place for people to come and live.”
That’s why reason why the “Vote SMART” campaign kicked off.
Cecelia Thompson, the co-chair, is teaming up with other business, civic and community leaders to remind everyone the importance of these efforts.
“I don’t have kids, but I do believe in this community. I believe we want this community to be a place where everybody can thrive,” she said. “That means a place where our schools are accessible and children have the tools they need to get educated and live prosperous lives.”
Some people told FOX8 off-camera they are worried this bond will raise taxes when people are still out of work. Others also think that getting kids back into school should be the primary focus right now.
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, there will be a rally at Kiser Middle School at 4 p.m. for people who want to learn more about the GCS “SMART” bond.