May 102012

County towns show support for schools
by Brian Carlton writing for the Enquirer Journal

As the fight over school funding continues, local towns have started to take sides. During their Tuesday, May 8 meeting, the Waxhaw town council adopted a resolution calling for Union County and state lawmakers to fully fund teacher positions and teacher assistants.

“There’s been a lot of finger pointing,” said Waxhaw Elementary PTA president-elect Martin Lane, who wrote and presented the proposal. “I think everybody’s got a hand in it. It doesn’t matter how we got here. It matters how we get out of this mess.”

To do that, Lane and several teachers from Waxhaw Elementary presented the resolution to the town council, asking for support. They also received support from other members of the education community, who spoke in favor of the resolution.

“I want to see the (school) district maintain the quality it’s known for,” said Waxhaw resident Lynn Southern, a recently retired teacher who plans to run for the Union County Board of Education. She pointed out that despite a lack of state funding, Union County Public Schools ranked as one of the top districts in the state, adding that teacher assistants are important to have in the classroom, as they help in a number of ways.

The district laid off a total of 350 teacher assistants last month as part of an attempt to balance a $6.7 million shortfall. Elementary schools were given limited funds, which principals had the flexibility to use as they saw fit. For Waxhaw Elementary, that meant hiring back some of the laid off assistants.

“It looks like we’re gonna be able to hire back five of the 13 (teacher assistants),” Lane told council members. “Teacher’s aides work primarily for kindergarten through third grade. It’s teacher assistants who step in, they work as interventionists, they get kids on and off the bus,” Lane said. “Now the county commission is pointing fingers at the school board, the school board is pointing fingers at the county commission and the state’s pointing fingers at anyone they can.”

The resolution points out that last year, a study done by Wingate University found the school district is Union County’s top economic driver. In addition, it asks the state to provide fair and equitable compensation for teachers, who haven’t had a raise in four years. Council member Erin Kirkpatrick made the motion to adopt the resolution, which passed unanimously. It will go out to county commissioners, as well as Rep. Craig Horn, Rep. Frank McGuirt and Sen. Tommy Tucker.

Read more: The Enquirer Journal – County towns show support for schools

Note: The County Board of Commissioners are having a special meeting on Friday, May 11 to discuss the 2012-13 budget. It is scheduled at 8:30am. Commissioner Rogers has a scheduling conflict and will not be able to attend. Cindy Coto “scheduled” it despite getting Kims’s schedule weeks in advance. This has been a re-occurring issue where special meetings are scheduled for times that either Kim or Tracy can’t attend. When was the last meeting held without Simpson, Johnson or Thomas in attendance???

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