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Raleigh has released the state budget — a bit late for some.
The lapse between the time the Board of Education is mandated to make budgetary decisions and the time they know what allocations they have needs to be addressed. Already, the BOE has had to send out letters of contract non-renewal to many teachers because we “may or may not” have the money to continue their valuable service. The stress and anxiety placed upon these teachers, some of whom we “may or may” not be able to rehire, is disgraceful.
What if I ran my household budget that way, i.e. telling the mortgage company or credit union that I didn’t have the money to pay them because I wasn’t sure just how much my employer would be paying me next month, so repossess my house and car … then telling them later that my employer finally revealed what my income would be for the month, so I can now buy back part of the house and all of the car?
We owe our teachers and other public employees better service than that.
— Chuck Hughes

Salisbury

Chuck Hughes serves on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.

Sponsors of House Bill 944, the school voucher bill, proposed certain changes during the bill’s first committee hearing last week. Changes include lowering the income required for eligibility, decreasing the total amount of money awarded, and increasing public accountability. As we approach the May 28 committee vote, let us not forget that the voucher concept itself is flawed. Siphoning funds from public schools will not generate the savings it claims to, but will instead take much needed funding from the numerous fixed costs schools incur each year. Private schools, not parents or students, will be empowered with choice — able to cherry-pick some students and return others, often the most vulnerable, to an underfunded public school system. All the while, public dollars are consumed by unaccountable private schools.
Our public education system is far from perfect, but school boards, teachers and staff are working hard and making gains, as improving national test scores and graduation rates indicate. We can aid in these gains, pledging ourselves to preserving the system of education our constitution provides; or we can dismantle public education as we know it. This Tuesday, our leaders have a chance to show which course they want to take.
— Dr. Ed Dunlap

Raleigh

Ed Dunlap is executive director of the N.C. School Boards Association.

I’ve long been troubled about how the employees of the city of Salisbury are being treated and felt it time to speak out. For reasons unknown or made up, the city has lost some amazingly talented people. Firing Jeff Holshouser and Gail Elder White has been the icing on the cake and prompted me to express my disgust.
How many more people have to be fired or forced to resign before the powers that be in Salisbury wake up and realize they are losing folks that are well-qualified, respected in the community and truly do a great job? What is the real reason they were “let go?” For whatever reason, it is extremely unfair and unprofessional. The way these hard-working employees have been treated is disheartening, to say the least. Who in their right mind would want to go to work for the city if this is how they treat those who do such a good job? These folks have put their hearts and souls into their careers, only to be booted out the door by an inexperienced city manager who seems to have some kind of Machiavellian complex.
I‘m no human resources expert, by any stretch, but I do know that companies that have a reputation for treating employees well get the best employees. The citizens of Salisbury need to remember this in November. Vote out these people who treat hard-working people so horribly. Salisbury can do much better. If Mayor Woodson won’t get involved, vote him out. It won’t undo the damage that’s been done but will prevent more heartache for families over lost careers and lawsuits against the city. It’s time for Doug Paris to get a dose of his own medicine.
— April Sherrill

Mt. Ulla

The article in Thursday’s paper asking for a response from the downtown merchants concerning the return of “Sleepy Hollow” is a great invitation.
On May 13 the downtown merchants had their monthly meeting to review the different events happening in the downtown corridor. The agenda for this meeting was to discuss a letter that the downtown merchants were sending to the city manager and the Tourism Development Authority. To the surprise of many of the merchants, Doug Paris, our city manager, James Meachum, director of the TDA, and Mark Lewis, chairman of the Board for Downtown Salisbury Inc., were in attendance. It was an open meeting with the merchants discussing freely the pluses and minuses of the “Sleepy Hollow” event. All three of these gentlemen took notes, sympathized with our concerns, engaged with our solutions and heard us.
It was a wonderful example of bringing everyone to the table and developing a strategy. So if the “Sleepy Hollow” film crew or any film crew is wondering about the hospitality in Salisbury, do not hesitate to call. The welcome mat is out and we are open for business.
On behalf of Salisbury downtown merchants:
— Gwen Matthews

Salisbury

Gwen Matthews operates the Literary BookPost in downtown Salisbury.

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