Paul Fisher: Education is the answer
I am an advocate for education. Education is the common denominator for the success of any community, any time, any place.
Education is the very fuel that powers and drives economic development, creates jobs and improves the quality of life for everyone.
Those counties who pursue and support education with a vengeance and those who have education as a strategic initiative will prosper. Those who do not will sink further into economic despair.
Rowan County is already suffering. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and in the nation. Individuals living at or below the poverty level in Rowan are also one of the highest in the nation at 21 percent, compared to 15 percent for the nation as a whole.
We are suffering on other fronts as well. No cavalry is coming so we must pull ourselves up by our own boot straps.
Some will say we can’t afford to spend any more on education. I say we can’t afford not to spend more on education. If we turn our back on education, then we turn our back on the future. Our generation and future generations will suffer.
Our educational system is the lifeblood for all of our citizens, companies and businesses in Rowan County and for all those who might consider coming here. If our education light does not burn brightly, then new families, companies and businesses may not come.
No, the new proposed central school office is not the panacea for all of our problems but it is a great first step to turning our fortunes around. It is the first train that needs to leave the station.
When the central school office is built, it will immediately become a beacon of light. It will signal to our own residents and to those who are looking to come here that education is important, that Rowan County is forward thinking, and that education is one of our core values.
With a new central school office and a renewed commitment to education, I am confident that other capital projects and programs involving education will quickly follow.
A change of course is so urgently needed. We can no longer sit idly by. Our future is now. We must act now.
Interest rates and building costs are headed upward. Any delay in doing the right thing will only cost us more tomorrow. I urge your support of the Board of Education’s proposed central school office.
I am reminded of a quote by Benjamin Franklin. “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”
We must also remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
It is now time to take that step.
Paul Fisher is chairman and CEO of F&M Financial Corp.