Vote no for now

To the editor:

There are few things more important than a quality education for our youth. It is our only hope for the future.

Quoting Joe Blosser in his Hight Point Enterprise column dated April 30 (“Let’s act fast on building, maintaining quality schools”), “The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has a statutory obligation to upkeep the school facilities, but their neglect spans many boards of both political parties.” That statement alone should be enough to move every voter in this county to vote to replace their existing commissioner and school board member!

The last thing we should do now is vote to reward this leadership team $1.7 billion to spend their way out of neglect. Vote “NO” for now on the school bonds and the sales tax and instead elect new leadership. Allow a new team with new vision and new direction to correct an education system that is failing. Shiny new buildings are not going to get us there. Yes, we must repair buildings in disrepair. Yes, we need additional classrooms. But, more importantly, we need leadership and action to support our teachers in the classroom. Then the new team can assess how to best finance and manage recovery from past neglect!

The Enterprise reports that the Guilford County commissioners were told that the financing of the bonds will cost $50 million per year for the next 16 years (“Commissioners get details on bond package cost,” May 6). In the Joe Blosser article he states that “basically, passing the sales tax reduces the burden on property taxpayers.” (The proposed sales tax increase would bring an estimated $20 million to $22 million a year.) I’m sorry, but the math doesn’t work. If you own property in Guilford County, trust me, you are going to pay a lot more in taxes this year and it will only get worse.

Vote “NO” for now. Research the candidates who have the same values and objectives you believe in and vote for your choice to replace the existing Guilford County commissioner and school board member in your district. Allow a new leadership team to direct a recovery from past neglect of our commissioners! One final note, while neglecting our schools last year, on June 17 the current board of commissioners voted to reward themselves with an almost 50% increase in compensation. That is correct, they gave themselves an annual raise of nearly 50%. Get out and vote for a new vision, new direction.

Geoff Beaston

High Point

Why I hate to vote

To the editor:

Campaign signs are plastered on nearly every corner. Mailboxes are filled with expensive glossy-colored prints featuring candidates and their families. While attempting to relax and unwind, we witness a steady stream of political ads on the television that are mostly “spit-polished” lies. Change channels and we see more of the same spit.

While I was early voting, it appeared that the circus had come to town. When I arrived at the polling location, I encountered an endless sea of campaign signs along with a multitude of campaign workers clad in T-shirts representing their candidates and passing out brochures. Candidates and supporters smiled and competed to greet each prospective voter — not the person but the voter. If I hadn’t done my homework regarding candidates before I went to vote, I certainly couldn’t have done so at the polls and most likely shouldn’t even have been voting.

I am a 78-year-old senior with health issues who requires curbside voting. As I rolled down my window to press the button for help, I was startled by one of the campaign clowns. I inquired, “Aren’t you supposed to be 50 feet from my voting space?”

She responded, “No, it’s OK.”

It is not OK; so, I registered a formal complaint, which was promptly addressed by the official in charge.

There must be a less stressful way to vote. For me, mail-in is not an option; so, where do I find relief from the stress surrounding elections? Politicians have no desire to offer help. My personal solution just might be to:

• Hang up the phone.

• Gift the city sanitation department with glossy prints.

• Monitor less television.

• Know when to say “Uncle.”

Uncle! Bye-bye, ballots!

Gail L. Shuller

Thomasville

Vote yes on referendums

To the editor:

High Point is transforming before our very eyes: our High Point Rockers, new Qubein Children’s Museum, Congdon Yards, High Point University, new businesses and event centers, just to name a few. There is a spirit of growth and development like never before that High Point can, and will, have a brighter future. We have another opportunity, this May 17, to create even more transformational change in High Point.

On the primary ballot are two referenda — $1.7 billion school facility bond package and a ¼ cent (0.25%) sales tax to help cover the cost. This is the best way, right now, to transform our public schools and ultimately allow our High Point community to reach its full potential. There are significant benefits and improvements for each of our 25 GCS public schools in High Point. Proceeds from this bond package will create better facilities, better learning environments, better academic outcomes for all students and therefore a better High Point community for decades into the future.

We started our High Point Schools Partnership group specifically to lift up our schools. We believe you need great schools to have a great community, and you need a supportive community to have great schools. Therefore, our leadership team voted unanimously to support and endorse both the bonds and the ¼ cent (0.25%) sales tax. I am asking you to support each of these initiatives on the May 17 ballot as a way to demonstrate that High Point is committed to a better and brighter future.

Matt Thiel, co-chair

High Point Schools Partnership

Vote yes on both proposals

To the editor:

On May 17 voters in Guilford County have a rare opportunity. Two proposals on the primary ballot — the $1.7 billion bond referendum and the 0.25% sales and use tax proposal — present an investment opportunity that is rarely presented to voters, an opportunity to totally revitalize an entire public school system and to reap lasting rewards far into the future.

Communities that modernize their school facilities receive a visible return on money spent. Numerous studies show new and renovated school buildings bring more successful teacher recruitment, increased student and teacher motivation and engagement, increased student effort, higher grades and better test scores, as well as increased student enrollment and attendance.

Economically, revitalization of a school district increases a community’s ability to attract new businesses, create new jobs, and provide an educated workforce. Property values and home prices increase.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the Guilford Country school board funded an independent study in 2019 that identified a total of $2 billion in facility needs. The plan developed recommended seven new schools, three additions to existing schools, 22 schools rebuilt on existing sites, 19 schools to be fully renovated and 13 schools to be closed. Every school will have upgrades to address critical safety issues and provide technology appropriate to 21st century learning.

In North Carolina, responsibility for building, equipping, and maintaining school facilities is a county responsibility. The county must provide money to meet this responsibility and has placed the bond referendum and the sales tax proposal on the ballot to do so.

Bonds would be issued over a 10-year period. The 0.25% sales tax means one extra quarter on each $100 spent. Groceries, vehicles, gasoline and prescriptions are exempt from the tax. This sales tax would be paid not only by Guilford County residents but also by visitors who make purchases here. The resolution affirmed that no property taxes will automatically be raised under the bonds if the sales tax passes.

There is only one opportunity to vote on this bond package and this tax. We encourage you to study these two issues carefully and to say yes to this investment in our schools and our community.

Mary Ellen Shiflett, president

Colleen Fairbanks, Public Education Round Table chair

League of Women Voters Piedmont Triad

NAACP backs ballot issues

To the editor:

The High Point Branch of the NAACP announces its position “YES” on the Guilford County Schools bonds and a fraction of a penny sales tax. Guilford County Schools’ facilities are long overdue for an overhaul. The physical environment complements the academic and learning environment to facilitate achievement and success for students. Guilford County Schools’ facilities have been neglected far too long due to lack of funding.

We stand firm with those who want to create world-class learning in Guilford County, and we start by classrooms and facilities conducive to exploring the greatness of each student.

DO NOT BE MISGUIDED. Opponents would have us believe that fiscal management from the Guilford County Schools’ board is at issue, but long-term neglect and funding withheld from governing funding entities is the “sole” problem. The “powers that be” must be called out boldly, loudly, and without fear.

In addition to new construction, renovations and repairs, the bond use is for the following:

• Make schools safer with digital locks, cameras, and other security measures, as well as modernizing classrooms and upgrading technology.

• Expand in-demand programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the visual and performing arts, advanced manufacturing, robotics, computer sciences and other Career and Technical Education programs.

• Design new schools to serve multipurpose needs such as community meeting spaces, job training centers and healthcare services.

To help pay for the school bonds, Guilford County voters will have the opportunity to approve a fraction of a penny sales tax (excluding certain items such as groceries, prescriptions, and gas) to spread the cost of repaying the bonds beyond property owners, with the intention to keep property tax rates neutral. County officials estimate that the sales tax impact would equate to five pennies for every $20 spent on most goods and services in Guilford County.

Time out for political grandstanding and pointing fingers. “Now is the Time.” As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says, “it is always the time to do the right thing.”

Jimmy Adams, president

High Point Branch of the NAACP

Vote Ridgill for school board

To the editor:

It has been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of District 2 on the Guilford County Board of Education since 2016, as well as from 1990-2008. I have worked to support and represent the bests interests of the students, teachers, staff and parents. As I complete my final term, I wish for these efforts to continue.

Marc Ridgill has eight years of experience working inside a Guilford County Schools school and with members of the entire school system staff, developing numerous professional contacts in all areas. He has actively advocated for school safety and system accountability for the past 16 years. He will prioritize the best interests of the students, teachers, parents and school campus staff.

Please joint me in supporting Marc Ridgill to be the elected District 2 school board representative.

Anita Sharpe, District 2 representative

Guilford County Board of Education

Get your auto parts Uptowne

To the editor:

I was so very excited to read that a premium location in High Point — the corner of Lexington and Main, gateway to “Uptowne” High Point — would soon be host to an auto parts store (“Advance Auto Parts coming to retail corner,” April 29). What better way to welcome visitors to our revitalized city than by making it easy for them to fulfill their auto parts needs while heading into the heart of town? I am sure the small business owners right around the corner who have worked so hard to make that area appealing will also appreciate the convenience of being able to pick up windshield wiper fluid on their lunch breaks. It was certainly worth the wait to see what the city was going to do with that location! Whoever made this decision deserves a firm handshake for a job ... done.

Amy MacArthur

High Point

High Point needs safer roads

To the editor:

I have many concerns regarding roads all over High Point. As a new driver I’ve noticed more and more how the roads can be very unsafe and damaging to people’s cars. As more people are growing the population of High Point, it is important that we keep our roads safe for any forms of transportation. Think about city buses and how some of the potholes and ever-narrow lanes are very difficult to drive safely on. There are potholes almost every couple feet. As this may take many years to fix, it’s a step into the right direction as many kids are now getting their licenses and we want a safe driving route to provide transportation. Even for others of the High Point community this is getting out of hand and we should provide safe roads for any driver.

Erin Gorman

High Point

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