GREENSBORO — The current version of the state budget, which awaits signature or veto by the governor, contains $28.8 million for Guilford County Schools facilities.
The money could be used almost immediately on district needs, Pat Tillman, a Guilford County Board of Education member, noted as he shared the news of the funding Thursday at the board’s meeting. By comparison, bonds would have to be approved and issued before the district could access that type of funding for similar work.
The state money is Guilford County Schools’ part of a larger allocation for facilities help for school districts across the state.
While welcome, the funding barely touches Guilford’s facilities’ needs.
Consultants have recommended that Guilford County spend nearly $1.5 billion on school buildings and other facilities over the next couple of decades.
Tillman also praised the inclusion of $3 million over two years for one-time, non-construction expenses for the new career and technical education academies in the state.
“The pie is only so big, but by any measure Guilford County had a big win in the budget that just passed,” he said.
Earlier in the meeting, board member Byron Gladden asked Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry whether a delay in approval of the CTE money would cause an issue for the district. Henry said she thought that even if the governor vetoes the state budget due to his unhappiness that it does not include Medicaid expansion, they are hopeful he and state lawmakers would come to some solution on the budget by the end of August.
“If we get the money in August we will be fine to get everything in place by second semester,” Henry said.
The CTE academy projects are moving forward, with board members approving two architectural firms to design spaces for the academies.
The board also gave the go ahead to staff to negotiate prices with the approved firms, LS3P and Clinton Gravely & Associates, for that work. LS3P would design the three bigger projects, which are at Smith High School, Academy at Smith and Western Guilford High School. Clinton Gravely & Associates would do the ones at Northeast High School and Kearns Academy.
The two firms were picked from 15 original applicants and from three who were interviewed.