GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. – September 16, 2020 – A diverse group of business, civic and community leaders in Guilford County today launched the Vote S.M.A.R.T campaign to generate support for the school bond referendum included on this fall’s ballot.
The Vote S.M.A.R.T campaign wants to ensure passage of the $300 million school bond that that will jumpstart the overall Facilities Master Plan for Guilford County Schools (GCS). The master plan lays out the need for $2 billion to transform, remodel and rebuild every public school in the county in the coming years.
S.M.A.R.T is an acronym for Safe, Modern, Accessible, Renovated, Tech-Ready schools. It serves as a reminder to voters of the needs in Guilford County public schools. The average age of schools in the county is 54 years old, and the majority of public schools lack acceptable safety or security measures, are not tech-ready, are overcrowded and inefficient to operate.
“As a community, it’s time to come together and vote S.M.A.R.T for the success of our children, our schools and our entire community,” said Frank Thomas, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and cochair of the Vote S.M.A.R.T Bond Committee. “A strong public-school system leads to a strong, educated, capable workforce and increased opportunities for our entire community.”
The $300 million bond will be used to acquire land for new schools, undertake priority repairs, implement technology upgrades and improve safety. When the Facilities Master Plan is fully completed, 22 schools will have been torn down and rebuilt, 15 will have received full renovations and 56 will have received priority repairs. In addition, 10 schools will have been built or expanded and more than two dozen updated buildings will have been closed or consolidated.
“We are extremely pleased at the broad base of support the Vote S.M.A.R.T campaign is already receiving throughout Guilford County,” said Cecelia Thompson, executive director of Action Greensboro and cochair of Vote S.M.A.R.T committee. “Our community recognizes that school buildings across the county are falling apart and we can no longer delay fixing them. Voting YES allows us to take actionable steps toward a brighter future.”
A socially distanced, virtual rally for the school bond is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23 at 4 pm at Foust Elementary School. More details to come.