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HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Early voting for the primary elections starts April 28.

$1.7 billion is on the line and there is a slight tax increase included on the ballot. 

The proposed Bond referendum would put $1.7 billion toward the renovation of dozens of Guilford County schools. This is phase two of a two-part bond worth a total of $2 billion. $300 million of the money was approved in 2020. It helped start construction on the rebuilding of 8 Guilford County schools. 

The tax increase on the ballot is a fraction of a penny. It does not apply to essential items like food, gas and prescriptions. All of this tax revenue would go toward paying off that debt. It would apply to visitors as well, meaning anyone who visits the county and spends money would pay that tax as well.

County officials estimate the tax increase would equal around 5 cents for every 20 dollars spent on most goods and services in the county.

Guilford County commission chair Skip Alston, along with Guilford County Schools officials are hoping the bond referendum and tax increase pass to get the schools the help they need. 

“That first phase was used to support 8 construction projects and those are right on track, construction begins this summer. But the 2022 school bond is phase two, and during that phase, 34 schools across the county will be renovated, rebuilt and constructed,” said deputy superintendent of Guilford County Schools, Dr. Whitney Oakley.

Renovations are long overdue. Many of the buildings are 50 to 60 years old. Alston has seen most of the damage for himself. Since December, he’s been touring Guilford County Schools weekly.

“Electrical problems, ceiling problems, leaking roof, heats not working, air conditioning is not working and the list goes on,” Alston said. 

Along with the 8 new school buildings and 34 schools that will receive renovations, every school in the county will get technology upgrades. This would include safety upgrades like security cameras and more up-to-date heating and cooling systems.

Early voting ends May 14. Election day is May 17.