State education bond proposals would allocate $10M to $17M to Stanly County education

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Competing statewide education bond proposals in Raleigh would allocate $10 million to $17 million to Stanly County Schools.

Stanly County would receive $10 million for school construction and repairs under a proposal for a $1.9 billion statewide school bond that House Republicans, including Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), sponsored.

Under House Bill 241, also known as the Education Bond Act, $1.5 billion of the bond funds would go to counties for public schools, $200 million would go to community colleges and $200 million would go to UNC campuses. The question about borrowing the money would be on the November 2020 ballot.

“It is extremely important to North Carolina that we provide some construction money to our local boards of education,” N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly). “The state legislature normally provides a bond about every 10 years for education. It has been 20 years (since 1996) since we passed the last school bond.”

Unlike the House, the Senate proposed a pay-as-you-go method increasing the State Capital Infrastructure Fund (which was established in the 2017 budget) from 4 percent of tax revenue to 4.5 percent, letting public schools use some of the money for school construction.

The Senate’s plan would result in around $2 billion each for public schools, UNC campuses, community colleges and state agencies over nine years. The plan did not disclose specifically how much money individual school systems would receive.

Gov. Roy Cooper proposed putting a bond worth $3.9 billion before the voters on the November 2020 ballot to help address school infrastructure needs.

The Invest NC bond would offer $2 billion to public schools for construction needs and Stanly County Schools would receive roughly $17.5 million.

The bond also invests $500 million for community colleges (including $200 million for construction and renovation projects), $500 million to improve facilities at UNC campuses, $800 million in aging water and sewer infrastructure and $100 million to renovate the N.C. Museum of History and complete the NC Zoo’s Australasia Continent project.

“The governor’s proposed budget that includes $17 million for Stanly County would make a huge difference in our ability to upgrade numerous school sites within our county and ease some of the local tax burdens that have been shifted to local county governments over the past years,” Stanly County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said. “Any investment in our public education system is a positive step forward in providing our most precious resource (our students) the best facilities and resources to become well educated and productive citizens in the future.

“We do have capital needs and have put together a 10-year plan our board will be reviewing in the near future. We would love to get rid of mobile units from all campuses, however, until we have funds to do so this task is not possible.”

Stanly Community College would also receive funding from the proposals, though the specific amounts for community colleges was not disclosed.

“North Carolina’s community college information system (ERP) is quite dated and in need of upgrading/replacement,” Stanly Community College President Dr. John Enamait said of Enterprise Resource Planning, used in support of SCC’s business operations. “Out of the $200 million for community colleges in HB241, the primary use will be for ERP upgrades to the N.C. Community College System (ultimately benefitting Stanly Community College students). Remaining funds will then be allocated to the 58 community colleges for new construction or repairs and renovations (similar to the 2015 bonds).”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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