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Luncheon celebrates PTA members and their work

By Allana Ansbro

news@salisburypost.com

The Rowan Salisbury PTA Council held its annual countywide luncheon Wednesday afternoon. Longhorn Steakhouse donated chicken salad, drinks, and desserts for the luncheon.

Don Coggins, president of the council, announced $15,274 had been raised by the PTA for its high school scholarship program.

Woodleaf Elementary ended up raising the most money towards the PTA scholarship fund with a total of $1,740. Each of the county’s high schools will receive a total of $2,500 towards scholarships for seniors.

Despite the recent controversies the board faces, Coggins focused the luncheon on the year’s accomplishments made by county PTA members.

“We’re a nonpolitical group. We’re here to support the kids,” he said.

Susan Cox, a member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, introduced herself and discussed why being on the board means so much to her.

“Some people have asked me in light of the recent controversies that are occurring, ‘Are you sorry that you ran for the school board?’ And I really reflected upon that. I knew I wasn’t sorry. But I was trying to determine why I’m not sorry in light of all that’s going on.  And after reflecting upon it I realized how much I love the school system. The students, the parents, the faculty, staff, administration, I love this county. I want to serve this county and I feel that I have something to offer.”

Other board members also spoke including Chuck Hughes, Vice Chair Dean Hunter and Chairman Josh Wagner.

Cox went on to explain and clarify the roles of the school board.

According to Cox, “The primary responsibilities of the school board are to hire and fire the superintendent, approve the budget, and set policies.”

“A lot of people get this false impression that we’re just politicians… I really think we have a school board that’s representative of the men and women who really want to serve and I can assure you, we’re not on the same level as senators and governors and all that as far as the political ladder. But I think we have a board that’s made of people who want to serve the school system and do what’s right.” Hunter said.

“I’m proud of being on the board. I think that we have a very strong board. When I say a strong board I mean we make decisions.”

“A strong board will look at it and then they’ll listen to the community. And if the community has an argument that closely opposes everything that we have, this is a board that will say, ‘let’s rethink that. We’ll change it,'” said Hughes.

Wagner was the last of the board members to speak at the luncheon.

“A lot of of folks, even in our county, don’t understand the value of PTA. They don’t understand what it really takes for a school to operate. Unfortunately, the Board often gets a lot of the publicity, whether it’s good or bad, and it’s seen as though we do the majority of the work, when really what we simply do is we oversee,” he said.

Wagner reflected on his three and a half years on the board and gave insight into his experience so far.

“When you run, you think you know a lot of things. After you’ve been on the board, and this goes for county commissions, city council, Congress, you realize that you know very little.”

He finished speaking by saying, “Today’s not about us. It’s not about me. It’s about the PTA. It’s about the children’s appreciation for the PTA, the appreciation for our schools, families and students.”

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