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PR Cluster Town Hall Meeting

 Did you know? 

Out of North Carolina’s 115 public school districts, Union County Public Schools (UCPS) ranks:

  • 1st among the State’s 15 largest school districts in the percentage of schools that met the federal No Child Left Behind, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals
  •  5th in graduation rate
  • 107th in per pupil funding

In other words, UCPS performs at a high level of excellence, yet only 8 school districts in NC spend less per student.  Unfortunately, as County Commissioner Kim Rogers put it, “the state of North Carolina does not fairly fund the Union County school systems - the funding formulas they use are outdated and do not account for the tremendous amount of growth our county has experienced in past years.”  Here are the numbers:

  • The NC General Assembly reduced UCPS’ funding by nearly 10% in the last three years
  •  Result: UCPS lost 10% of the teaching faculty and 25% of teaching assistant positions
  • During the same period, enrollment increased by more than 1,300 additional students


This is counter-intuitive. UCPS has proven a highly worthwhile investment; after all, it is the schools’ reputation that continues to draw families to Union County, thus growing the tax base.  However, the quality of education we have come to expect in Union County is further threatened.

  • Next year, UCPS projects a shortfall of an additional $9.9 million dollars:
    • $2 million from a State discretionary reduction
    • $300,000 to transport students for the additional five instructional days mandated by the State (the State and UCPS are working to resolve this issue)
    • $7.6 million due to the end of the Federal Edujobs funds
  • $9.9 million is the equivalent of eliminating 177 teaching positions or 97 teaching positions and 150 teacher assistant positions.
  • Result:  Larger class sizes.  UCPS estimates 40 students in a class at the High School level, 35 in a class at the Middle School level, and the largest impact in elementary school classrooms.


In addition, North Carolina teachers are paid 41st worst in the nation.  Our teachers have seen 4 years of frozen salaries, while their healthcare costs and cost of living increased.  Our teachers play a critical role in our community, educating our future leaders, and they deserve a livable wage.


What more can you do to support your schools? 

Please attend several important meetings.  The PTAs, PTOs, parents, and teachers of all 53 Union County Public Schools are uniting as advocates for education.  Please plan to be a part of this very important and unprecedented effort to protect our schools and prioritize education funding. 

  • Wear GREEN and attend the Union County Commissioners’ meeting at 7 PM, April 16th, (Union County Government Center, 500 North Main Street, Monroe).  Our County Commissioners will be voting on the local budget in May.  Right now, education is not listed as one of the top 5 priorities by our commissioners.  The County could provide funding to UCPS while we work to secure State funding for the following year.
  • Attend the cluster meeting. Porter Ridge Cluster Town Hall Meeting; scheduled for April 18th at 6:30 in the Porter Ridge High School’s auditorium.   Wear GREEN to support funding to our schools. We are looking for parents and students (middle and/or High School) to speak. We would like each school from the Porter Ridge Cluster to be represented with at least 5 speakers. Each speaker is allowed 3 minutes and must sign in 15 minutes before the meeting. If you are interested in speaking, please contact Jerilyn Hilse jerilynhilse@hotmail.com You do not need to speak, just being there wearing green, showing our county we are standing as one. 
  • If you would like to speak at the Commissioners’ meeting, please email Beth Warren (on the PTA Board at Sandy Ridge Elementary) at srescommittees@gmail.com so we know how many speakers to expect.  Each speaker is allowed 3 minutes under the Rules of Procedure and must sign in 15-30 minutes before the meeting.

  Please email your State and local elected officials and let them know your concerns. 

 

State Legislators’ email addresses:

Tommy.Tucker@ncleg.net; Craig.Horn@ncleg.net; Justin.Burr@ncleg.net; Frank.McGuirt@ncleg.net;

 

NC State Senate: Tommy Tucker

NC House of Representatives:  D. Craig Horn, Justin Burr, Frank McGuirt

 

Union County Commissioners email addresses:

jerry.simpson@co.union.nc.us; todd.johnson@co.union.nc.us; tracykuehler@co.union.nc.us; kimrogers@co.union.nc.us; jonathan.thomas@co.union.nc.us;

Commissioners: Jerry Simpson; Todd Johnson; Tracy Kuehler; Kim Rogers; Jonathon Thomas

A strong showing of supportive and engaged parents is vital.  Union County Public Schools is successful due to its great administration, staff, teachers, students AND parents!  Join us in protecting our schools, expecting essential funding and safeguarding our children’s future.


Sources of information:  Dr. Ed Davis, UCPS Superintendent, outlined the challenges facing our schools in a video and in an article that he and Luan Ingram, UCPS Chief Communication Officer, wrote entitled “2012-2013 Legislative Priorities and Talking Points” found here:  http://www.ucps.k12.nc.us/news/jump.php?news_id=35135.  Please take some time to watch the video and review the Legislative Priorities and Talking Points.  We need everyone to understand the budget situation facing our schools and the potential consequences of inaction.  

For more information, please “like” the Protect Union County Schools Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/ProtectUnionCountySchools

Written by: April Dawkins
Posted: Apr 03, 2012 by April Dawkins

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