School bonds protest will go to court

·2 min read

Jul. 15—GUILFORD COUNTY — Former Republican Guilford County commissioner Alan Branson will file an appeal in Superior Court to continue his protest of a $1.7 billion school construction bond package voters approved in May.

That would further delay the start of projects funded by the bonds because the protest has blocked certification of the vote.

Branson told The High Point Enterprise on Friday afternoon that his attorneys will file an appeal in Wake County Superior Court of his protest, which was rejected on June 30 by the N.C. State Board of Elections. That court is where appeals of cases involving state government agencies must be filed.

One of Branson's attorneys, Philip Thomas with the N.C. Republican Party in Raleigh, said the appeal will include a request for a stay from the judge to keep the bond referendum outcome in the May 17 primary from being certified.

Guilford County voters passed the school construction bond package with 61% approval. The projects are meant to transform Guilford County Schools facilities across the county for decades to come.

However, the Guilford County Schools district leadership has been limited to having staff work on planning work for the initial bond projects, which include ones for High Point schools. No money from the bonds can be used to hire project managers or pay for other work until the election protest is resolved and the vote certified.

Branson's protest focuses on his contention that county government officials used public resources improperly to advocate approval of the bond package. County and school officials contend they played an educational, not advocacy, role leading up to the election in explaining what the bonds would pay for.

Branson, who's from the Julian community in eastern Guilford County, lost his Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 4 seat in the 2020 general election. He is running this year for the lone, countywide at-large seat on the board and will face Democratic Commissioner Kay Cashion of Greensboro in the Nov. 8 general election.

pjohnson@hpenews.com — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul