African American Clergy Coalition makes case against $2.5B CMS bond

The African American Clergy Coalition, which is a group of faith leaders formed to oppose the $2.5 billion Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bond, held a forum Thursday night on five reasons voters should say no when they go to the ballot box on Tuesday.

READ MORE: CMS leaders give update on bond referendum

CMS said the bond would fund 30 of its highest-priority projects, which include building new schools and renovating existing ones.

“If these bonds pass, your property taxes will increase every year for the next five years,” said Rev. Ricky Woods, who is with the coalition.

Woods and the AACC said they are concerned about high-interest rates, the belief that bonds won’t improve students’ academic performance, and senior citizens losing their homes.

“We have serious questions in terms of whether or not if there is a need for absolutely 30 projects,” Woods said.

Some in the audience at Greenville Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Hidden Valley were not yet sold on what the district says is desperately needed across the district.

“I’m just trying to understand the rationale in what we’re trying to do here, or attempting to do,” said an attendee at the forum.

CMS executive staff also attended the forum refuting some of what the coalition said.

Channel 9′s Jonathan Lowe spoke with CMS Superintendent Crystal Hill who said she has a legislative responsibility to communicate what the district needs.

“My biggest thing is just to make sure that voters have accurate information when they go to the polls,” Hill said.

The superintendent said part of that is to remind the voting public what happened when a CMS bond proposal failed several years ago.

“They had to find a different way to fund them, and then two years later, they ended up going for a higher bond, which then of course, passed,” Hill said. “The county believes that this is the most economical way to address our needs.”

Ultimately, voters will be the ones to make that decision.

“You brought up some real good points,” someone in attendance said.

If approved, the bond would be the largest in Mecklenburg County history.

Learn more about the bond by clicking here.

VIDEO: CMS leaders give update on bond referendum