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Educators seeing red over county budget

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners could be seeing red tonight.
At least, that’s what education officials hope will happen during a public hearing on the county’s proposed 2011-2012 budget.
Dr. Judy Grissom, superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, sent out plea that she called “an ‘SOS’ to ‘Save our Students!’ ” She’s asked Rowan-Salisbury employees and other education supporters to show up at the meeting wearing red.
In the email, Grissom said the school system budget has been slashed by $12 million in state and local funding over the past two years, and she said the district could suffer an additional $8 million in cuts in the upcoming budget.
With 85 percent of the budget dedicated to personnel, Grissom wrote, “these kinds of cuts cannot be absorbed without affecting positions, class size and the quality of education our students would receive.”
Grissom noted in her email that she has made this plea in years past, but says the need is more urgent this year because of deep cuts in the state budget and state lawmakers’ unwillingness to continue a 1-cent sales tax for education funding.
She wrote also that “there appears to be support from a couple of the county commissioners and a proposal from the county manager to cut our district in funding and take part of our fund balance.
“We have been aggressive and prudent in preparing ahead knowing that our fund balance would be needed for the next two years to save teacher and teacher assistant positions and to not increase the class size,” Grissom wrote.
She asked for education supporters to show up in large numbers at the public hearing “to present a very clear, loud, and demanding message that we must ‘Save Our Students’ and not cut education.”
The public hearing on the proposed 2011-2012 county budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. at in the commissioners’ meeting room on the second floor of the county administration building at 130 W. Innes St.

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