by Jordan Green

Greensboro and Guilford reach agreement on tax collection

Mayor Bill Knight announced last week that the city of Greensboro has reached an agreement with Guilford County on tax collection. Earlier this month the city had signaled that it would go it alone on tax collection after county leaders said they would increase charges on the city from $400,000 to $1.5 million for the service. The city estimated that it would cost $963,000 to collect its own taxes.

Ultimately, tax collection was folded into negotiations between the city and county on animal control and the library. Under the agreement announced on Feb. 10, the city will pay the county $963,000 for tax collection; the county will take full responsibility for the animal shelter, relieving the city of a cost share of $713,000; the city will continue to pay the county $508,000 for animal control; and the county will increase its funding of the library from $1.3 million to $1.5 million, based on a state funding formula.

City staff estimates the city has realized a $266,000 benefit from the deal. — JG

Progressive rep supports tax credits for parents who send children to private schools

A bill filed earlier this month by NC Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) to provide tax credits to parents who opt to send their children to private schools has drawn harsh reaction from June Atkinson, the Democratic superintendent of the NC Department of Public Instruction.

“This move to pull support from public schools has the potential to create a taxpayersupported system of private schools and another system for everyone else,” Atkinson in a prepared statement on Feb. 8. “I don’t believe North Carolinians want to undermine their schools. I believe North Carolinians want to support their schools. I believe North Carolinians want to support their public schools and make them even stronger.”

Stam shot back in a news release two days later: “North Carolina’s high school graduation rate ranks near the bottom nationwide and its suspension and expulsion rates rank near the top. If we can provide students with an alternative environment that will help them reach their potential, why not try it?” The bill has attracted an unlikely supporter.

NC Rep. Marcus Brandon, a self-described progressive from Guilford County, is the only Democrat listed as a cosponsor of the bill.

The lawmaker’s Feb. 10 newsletter explains that during his campaign last year, “Brandon promised that he would support giving educational decision-making back to the stakeholders — students, parents and teachers — so they can determine what is best for their student, their school and their community. Brandon also promised that he would protect public education at all costs, nothing that our public school system is still the best option for the majority of his constituents and that it is imperative that we continue to fight for a strong public school system.” — JG

Greensboro truth commission to be topic of presentation

Joshua Inwood, a professor at University of Tennessee-Knoxville, will make a presentation on the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Room 109 of the Graham Building at UNCG on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Inwood has been researching “the results of the Greensboro commission, focusing on the ways grassroots activists address the legacy and memory of violence, and how violence continues to undergird racial exploitation and frame an understanding of difference in North America,” according to a UNCG press release. Inwood’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation. Over the course of three hearings, the Greensboro truth commission heard testimony from survivors of the 1979 Klan-Nazi killings, Klan leaders and members of the Greensboro police department. The commission released its report in 2006, and a majority of the independent commissioners concluded that “the single most important element that contributed to the violent outcome of the confrontation was the absence of the police.” — JG