CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Leaders with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools continued to field questions over the record-setting $2.5 billion bond proposal set for the November ballot. It would be used to renovate, repair and build new schools to address the problems that continue to mount for the district.
The bond would go to fund 30 of the district’s highest-priority problems, which are just a fraction of the total number of fixes the district has in mind.
Most of the projects included involve campuses with a large minority student body, with the biggest price tag being assigned to North Mecklenburg High School ($228 million).
District leaders believe the ask is fair and justified. However, it has been met with disagreement by some, including the African American Clergy Group.
The group has called for a “No” vote on the bond proposal.
Members hosted a forum on Thursday to get their questions answered by school and county leaders. The major concerns expressed revolve around a property tax increase and what the bond is being used for.
The tax hike would be 3 cents per $100 for families whose home is valued at $400,000. It would happen three times over the course of five years, between 2025 and 2029.
However, that increase may not be exactly set in stone, according to County Manager Dena Diorio.
“We may find that over time these projects may not cost as much over time which may impact if we need to do those tax increases,” she explained.
Ricky Woods, a member of the Black Clergy, said the fear that has been expressed to him by members of the poorest communities and senior citizens, is the increase will make it to where they cannot afford the cost to live in their homes anymore.
“This creates an unnecessary bourdon on lower income property owners,” Woods said. “Those neighborhoods are historically older African American neighborhoods.”
CMS School Board member Stephanie Sneed was quick to respond.
“The home value of those is around $200,000, so it’s not going to be off the $400,000 tax impact,” the District 4 rep said.
She also stressed that those individuals who struggle to make their payments could be eligible to receive county assistance.
Black Clergy members also asked that the projects be used by county funds set aside for situations just like this.
“There’s no way to do $2.5 billion worth of projects, for 30 projects, without issuing some form of debt,” Diorio said.