Voters in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (North Carolina) school district have approved a historic $2.5 billion bond that will provide some of the poorest neighborhoods in and around Charlotte with new and renovated schools over the next several years.
The Charlotte Observer reports that 63% of voters approved the ballot question. The $2.5 billion proposal was a record ask for a public school district in North Carolina.
“Today, voters made a critical investment in our future,” said Janet LaBar, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance that led the pro-bond effort.
The bonds will pay for 30 projects that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say will improve building conditions, offer more academic options and alleviate overcrowding.
The projects include new or renovated elementary, middle and high schools. Among them: Harding University High, East Mecklenburg High, North Mecklenburg High and new Second Ward Medical and Technology high schools.
Over the last four decades Mecklenburg County has mostly supported public education bonds, including the last one in 2017. "The vote reflects what I’ve been hearing from the community, which is a recognition that investing in our children is an investment in our future,” school board member Jennifer De La Jara said.
The Coalition for a Better 2050 is behind the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance’s “Vote Yes for School Bonds” campaign, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to encourage voters to support the bond. That included paying for political consultants, flyers, radio spots and website development.