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Governor Emphasizes Need For Putting Statewide School Facilities Bond On Ballot

In a visit to a Wake County school Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper discussed school facility needs and said that lawmakers in the 2018 short session should have authorized placing a $1.9 billion statewide school bond referendum on the November 6 ballot.

In an interview with WRAL-TV, the Governor emphasized that there are more than $8 billion in identified school facility needs statewide and a state-supported bond of $1.9 billion would help local counties address those facility issues, while still leaving a funding gap.

“The needs across the state right now are at about $8 billion,” Cooper told WRAL-TV. “Some of these counties just do not have the tax revenue and the resources to provide the funding for school construction.”

The Governor had proposed a statewide school bond referendum in his budget requests to the General Assembly for the 2018 short session. In addition, high-ranking Republican lawmakers in both chambers – led by Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus) and Sen, Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) – had filed legislation in 2017 seeking to place a $1.9 billion school bond on the November 2018 ballot. Ultimately, neither chamber’s school bond bill gained approval, and only the House bill received a committee hearing last year before it stalled.

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said in an interview with The Insider daily government news service that lawmakers this year were hesitant to expand state debt for school facilities, as they had already agreed on Governor Cooper’s proposal to authorize the issuance of up to $3 billion in new debt over the next 10 years to keep pace with statewide road building needs. Speaker Moore said he believes there will be” a significant amount of support for school bonds during the 2019 long session.”

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) is part of a large coalition pressing for a $1.9 billion school bond at the legislature and will continue to make this a priority for lawmakers to address in 2019, since the last statewide school bond was put before, and approved by, voters in 1996.

NCASA encourages all school leaders to continue talking to current lawmakers and candidates for legislative seats about the potential for a statewide school bond and seek their support. Click here to view a list of current legislators by district.