County changing things up when it comes to bonds - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

County changing things up when it comes to bonds

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Mecklenburg County is changing the way it hands out money when it comes to building and renovating schools. 

Before county leaders didn't mind issuing about $300 million a year in bond money.  This time it wants to cut that number down to $100 million a year in bond money for all projects.

This means Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) district and Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) have to compete for the same dollars.

"We understand that we need to be a partner with the county," Assistant to CPCC President Jeff Lowrance said. "And to make it work the best we can."

The county says it will review all projects and measure them one by one.  The projects that pass the county's test will get funded, leaving some projects behind.

"I feel like we are shortchanging both groups," CMS School board chairperson Mary McCray said. "When we have to be in competition for dollars. It's a little disheartening because we are both about developing the workforce that's needed here in Mecklenburg county."

CPCC says it needs money to update its science labs and expand as more students are enrolling into community college. 

"We've reached a point now where we really do need to grow to be able to accomodate future growth and population," Lowrance said. "But also to offer the programs we need to ensure Mecklenburg county has the job training it needs to attract new businesses."

CMS says it also needs money to update old schools and start new programs.

The county claims the recession and the still struggling economy is to blame for this new way of doing things, but McCrary thinks otherwise.  She says Wake County is also preparing for a bond referendum and their amount is much larger than CMS'.

"If Wake county can do this," McCrary said. "I don't see their economy any better than ours, maybe they are doing something our commissioners may want to take notice."

The county says it will release its final list of projects in June.  Those projects will be for a bond referendum in November.

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