by Sam Hieb
Headline for the article by Rhino Times’ Scott Yost:
Raising $1.5 Billion Might Be Trickier Than You Think
One would hope so. But the tricky part has an unusual twist—reluctance to put the proposed $1.5 billion Guilford County Schools bond on the ballot is coming from Democrats on the Board of Commissioners:
Prior to this week, it seemed certain that four of those five needed votes would come easily from the four Democrats on the board – since each June at budget time those Dems argue vehemently for more school funding.
However, after a late February vote by the five Republican Guilford County Commissioners to approve a $12-million county construction project that included virtually no black participation, there’s something new for school officials to worry about.
This week, Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston said that, after the county’s total disregard for African-American concerns in the vote last month, he has no plans to vote to put a new school bond referendum on the ballot with hundreds of millions of dollars in construction contracts if there are no assurances that a reasonable amount of that work will go to black-owned firms.
“The five white male Republicans approved that contract with less than two-tenths of one percent going to black-owned firms,” Alston said. “If we’re going to approve any more bonds, things have to change.”
And then you have Republican Commissioner Hank Henning, who said—according to the Rhino—“commissioners aren’t just going to hand the schools a billion dollars or more without a rock solid plan the Board of Commissioners can buy into.”
Stay tuned. This will be really interesting, especially if officials. push to put the bond on the 2020 ballot.