"Schools predict budget slashes"

The title of this post was Tuesday's Chapel Hill News headline. The News' quote from School Board member Lisa Stuckey speaks volumes:

"I think we're caught in a situation where our district continues to grow, the state continues to implement pay raises which are badly needed by teachers and other employees," said school board member Lisa Stuckey, who is serving on that committee.

"And it would be quite ironic if in meeting the demands of growth and in working to bring staff wages to appropriate levels we would then have to cut staff positions," she added. "And I see that as quite likely this year."

Read the whole story for more details. Or read the fine column recently published by Mark Peters.

There was also a column in Wednesday's paper by schools superintendent Neil Pedersen. I could not find a link to it online.

One point that stood out for me in Pedersen's column was his discussion of the costs of opening Carrboro High School and building elementary school #10. These many millions in capital costs are a cost of growth that have not been carefully analyzed in our land use planning processes. The current schools impact fee covers only a small fraction of the per student cost of new facilities.

There is much discussion locally contending that growth will make the area more affordable but we see little evidence to that effect. We talk a lot about commercial growth but wind up zoning for and approving mostly residential. Given that school costs are 50% of the county budget, is it any wonder county taxes have been going up?

The commissioners hold out hope for the land transfer tax to provide more revenues to the county in the future but, meanwhile, there are tough choices to be made.

Do OP readers think the commissioners should be so intent on holding the tax increase down this year and next? If so, are you comfortable with significant staff and program cuts for the school systems?

And, there are broader questions: Should current residents pay the cost for new schools to accommodate those moving to the area? Are the high standards so many hold for the CHCCS economically and, therefore, politically sustainable into the future?

And, of course, there are those who are not being best-served by the system currently. How will the budgetary axe fall on them?



Thanks, Mike. Surveillance and security is quite a growing business due to so many factors and societal experiences. I wonder if any discussion has ensued about what the effects on the students are of being "watched"? There is a sign on a bathroom door at Phillips Middle School by the gym that reads something like "Monitors are watching you". I don't think the effect or the message is very subliminal.

Maybe each school should have a couple of mascots that roam the school grounds that are actually heavily armed security guards...

Mark Peters and some other familiar faces are adding some substance to the N&O's kid-gloves interview with Commissioner Carey over at OrangeChat.



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