School buildings across Orange County have leaky roofs, mold, heating, air problems and security issues, according to a press release from Save Orange Schools, a political action committee made up of parents and community members in Orange County. The press release said $260 million is currently needed for critical building needs alone in both school districts.
In December 2019, a CBS 17 newscast aired showing troubling video footage of Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill. The newscast showed lockers that were blocked by pools of water as the ceiling continued dripping onto the tile floor.
Cassie Ford, the leader of Save Orange Schools, said she thinks it is time addressing infrastructure issues in Orange County Schools got pushed to the forefront.
“We want people to go out on March 3 and vote for candidates who can fix this problem," she said, referencing the primary for the Orange County Commissioners election. "And the reason why we’re focusing on county commissioners is because they are the ones who control capital expense in Orange County, and that includes capital expenditures for schools."
Penny Rich, chairperson of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said the state has cut a tremendous amount of money from the school budget. She said state budget cuts in 2012 and tax cuts in 2017 have led to a school budget deficit of $3 billion dollars per year.