Regarding “Republicans move GenX bill forward, over objections by Democrats” (Feb. 9): Governor Cooper must act immediately to address the contaminated water crisis in Wilmington.
I would like to see the Department of Environmental Quality have sufficient funding to buy the mass spectrometer the state needs to test the water. We also need to strengthen environmental regulations to ensure that the public is protected from polluters . The DEQ should also be encouraged to set a standard for GenX, even though the EPA does not currently have a standard for it.
This has affected thousands of families who can no longer trust the drinking water.
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Pick up leaves
Regarding “Why can’t the City of Raleigh pick up the leaves?” (Feb. 9): I think the better question is “why can’t Raleigh residents pick up their own leaves?” We have lived in the Hayes Barton area for nearly 40 years and have always bagged our leaves. But this problem seems to get worse every year.
If Raleigh has snow and rain, inadequate equipment and unreasonable schedules (first pass before leaves are down) then it won’t get better. In fact, I would encourage the City Council to do away with this expensive program. If you can get your leaves to the curb, you can get them in a bag.
Regarding “NC promised $1.6 billion to get hands on Toyota” (Feb. 7): Ask for a mere loaf of bread and you are a “lazy” drain on public coffers. Seek $1.6 billion and that’s good business.
How and why is one welfare and the other is not? And forget the pipe-dream that the latter is a great jobs creator. That mythology has been repeatedly debunked. If one is welfare, then the other is corporate welfare on a grand scale.
Raise teacher pay
Regarding “What I meant about $35K teacher pay” (Feb. 8): One must acknowledge that funding public school teacher salaries to adequate levels in order to attract and retain the best and the brightest is a 10-year problem for North Carolina. It is disappointing when our State Superintendent of Public Instruction Johnson uses misleading data with the claim that current beginning teachers’ salary of $35,000 is fair.
His arguments are built around one perspective; that our state is divided into two different entities, rural and urban. His justification of the current starting salary for rural teachers is that the median rural income is less than the current beginning teachers’ salary. Superintendent Johnson does not acknowledge that young teachers do not find poor, rural counties attractive places to live and teach. He should strongly advocate for higher rural and urban salaries rather than defending the legislature’s actions. The US Census Bureau 2012-2016 data suggests that our economic divide is not a two-part system of rural vs. urban. It is a geographic and economic three-part system of Western NC, Eastern NC and the Piedmont. The very poorest counties are in Eastern NC .
Johnson infers that the rural areas are in need of school buildings and renovations more than they need to raise teacher salaries. He states that richer urban areas can supplement the teachers’ starting salary with their real estate or sales taxes. Mr. Johnson, we need you to advocate for the public schools. The legislature has consistently chosen tax breaks rather than raising school spending to 2008 levels. Funding in 2018 for public and charter schools is still below those levels.
We should expect our decision makers and legislators to be able to deal fully with school finance problems, including teacher salaries, with a vision of excellence in education.
Sarah Burke Berenson
Mathematics Education, Teacher Education Higher Education
University of North Carolina Greensboro