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A Visit From Rep. Craig Horn

Rep. Horn speaks with the staff at Sardis Elementary.

You can speak about change, you can quote statistics, but nothing proves what is happening in the classrooms in UCPS like seeing it for yourself. This was the opportunity given to Rep. Craig Horn on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 when he spent the day at Sardis Elementary School.

As a retired turkey salesman, Rep. Horn originally had no intention of running for office. His plan was to be full-time grandpa, until his grandchildren encouraged him to make a difference. How could a grandpa say no?

Rep. Horn toured the school and visited classrooms with the guidance of teacher assistant Paula Daniels. Of all days, Rep. Horn visited on the same morning that UCPS teacher assistants were notified of their devastating cut. He knew what kind of day he was walking into. However in spite of this, he observed teachers and assistants still smiling. He spoke with students and met with parents in the morning car rider line. He also sat with an EC class at lunch and talked to other classes about being a legislator. “They were all stars and heroes,” he exclaimed.

After the school day was complete, Rep. Horn met with the Sardis staff for a question and answer session. An optimist by nature, he began by sharing his thoughts for what is to come. He hopes the final budget will pass by July 4 (Independence Day, as he prefers to call it), and within it be believes the extra five days added to the calendar will “go away” and teachers’ paycheck issues will be fixed. He commented on the amount of funds put into technology like Smartboards, but believes those funds would be better used for “smart teachers”. The paperwork lining the classroom desks and tables was overwhelming to him, and the need for more tests unacceptable. Though he observed a hardworking and dedicated school staff, he felt that everything was generally overmanaged.

He continued to explain that Edujobs funds, one of the funds disappearing next year and therefore aiding in the budget crisis, was in the budget but did not pass. He confidently added more detail about other funding that might possibly come to the county in the coming months. He also reminded the staff that UCPS ranks 45th out of the 100 school districts in North Carolina when it comes to spending. Such low spending, yet high academic rankings, speaks volumes about UCPS’ superiority. Rep. Horn is a member of the Education Policy Committee, and these budget issues are of top priority.

“I can certainly vouch for the fact that at Sardis Elementary, the teachers cannot go it alone,” he stated in a later e-mail message. “Sardis Elementary is a prime example of how qualified and caring teachers AND teacher aids are critical to education success.” Those statements alone represent a successful day in the importance of public education!

Written by: Jodi McConkey, Web Editor/Music Teacher
Posted: Apr 09, 2012 by Jodi McConkey

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