"The backlog of school construction needs is so vast that counties need the assistance of the state, as they have periodically provided over the last half a century or more," NC School Boards Association's Director of Governmental Relations Leanne Winner said.
Speaker Tim Moore along with other lawmakers introduced House Bill 241, which calls for a $1.9 billion general obligation bonds to pay for construction at public schools.
Education is what matters most to families and businesses in North Carolina, and today is an exciting day for our schools and students. Let's give voters a choice to approve capital investments in their education systems across our state. https://t.co/ppQC0Nc25r #ncpol #nced— Speaker Tim Moore (@NCHouseSpeaker) February 28, 2019
"If I didn't believe that this was a fiscally responsible approach, that this was a way that actually is a fiscally conservative approach for taxpayers, you wouldn't see me standing before you advocating this," Moore said.
In the past, school districts have mostly relied on money raised locally in the county. It's been 20 years since the state has stepped in with major funding.
"This is a positive approach to being able to inject that money quickly and aid the locals in their efforts to keep up," North Carolina Rep. Jeffery Elmore (R-94th District) said.
Lawmakers say the state's rapid growth and two back-to-back hurricanes have made school construction a priority for the General Assembly. Moreover, communities with the most need don't have the tax base to support major projects.
"We've got the greatest teachers in the nation. It's time that we have the greatest buildings to educate in," North Carolina Rep. Brenden Jones (R-46th District) said.
If this bill passes, it will appear on the primary ballot in 2020 for voters to decide.