Chapel Hill: Opinion

Whate else you’re saying: Abbe Simon, Vicki Boyer, David Schwartz, Tish Galu, Lawrence Sanders and Robert Campbell

Our school district’s future

After a recent PTSA meeting, I left feeling concerned about the future of my children’s education in our prestigious school district.

Our state’s teacher salary that places us 47th in the nation continues to devalue our teachers’ worth. In October 2015, Wake County revised its budget to raise salaries of all 18,000 school employees in order to become more competitive and move teacher pay closer to the national average.

Their county commissioners increased the budget by $44 million to allow up to $3,200 of a salary increase for teachers, based on experience. And while Wake County experiences more teacher vacancies than CHCCS and has had a harder time filling positions, this decision has impressed their community as well as ours. And it became clear that CHCCS teachers could be attracted to higher salaries and consider leaving the district.

At last week’s Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators forum about Project Advance, I learned about miscommunication between the administration and teachers. While both remain committed to our students and improving equity, achievement, growth, and success, there is a disconnect about how to maintain teacher satisfaction and raise salaries. While there may be disagreement on how the plan will affect our veteran teachers, the most recent proposal would raise the local supplement paid to staff with fewer than 20 years of experience. These raises would positively affect around 900 of CHCCS’s over 1100 teachers and make teacher salaries for newer teachers, much more competitive with what Wake County is paying.

During this time of campaigning and elections, our county deserves to know what the BOCC will do to fully fund our schools and increase teacher pay. Without our teachers who feel appreciated, valued, and deserving, we cannot sustain the reputation of our district or the outstanding education our students receive. As an involved community, let’s be sure to advocate for raising teachers’ salaries and elect commissioners who will do the same.

Abbe Simon

Chapel Hill

Why we can’t vote on Sundays

For four years I have been an observer at Orange County Board of Elections meetings. Most are routine, but the meeting held in December, 2015, was an exception.

When our BOE Republican Chair was first sworn into office she remarked that this board was here to serve the people of Orange County, not a political agenda. I was there and heard her say so. I’ve tried hard to take her at her word, and in the past I have publicly defended this board for some of its decisions. But I will not do so any more.

Religious groups, citizen groups, public petitions, elected officials including our county commissioners have asked for Sunday vote. The BOE always claimed that practical considerations out-weighed all these public requests.

But last December, the gloves came off. After refusing to consider a motion for early vote hours on Sunday, the board chair admitted they had one request not to allow it. Where did it come from? The Republican Party.

That’s right. A letter from the Republican Party saying they didn’t want Sunday voting hours in Orange County took precedence over all the other voices in our community. This, added the chair, is the price you pay for having an early vote site next to campus. But they never told the public we had to choose between the two, and we want both.

The NC GOP has gerrymandered our Congressional districts in a manner that does not represent voting numbers in our state, they made it harder to vote, and now they are working to take away an important opportunity to vote. Some other counties can, but not Orange. Our BOE can no longer claim a cloak of practicality. It’s all politics.

Vicki Boyer

Carrboro

Bedford is exceptional

When I go to the polls on Tuesday, I’ll be casting one of my votes for Jamezetta Bedford. Jamezetta served for 12 years as a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education; she will bring to the Board of County Commissioners unrivaled understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our public school system. In addition, her strong background in finance and accounting will help the Commission ensure that our tax money is spent wisely and that we plan responsibly for future education and social service needs.

The INDY Weekly called Jamezetta an “exceptional” candidate who has “a stunning knowledge of county issues and fiscal realities” and stated she “would be an excellent commissioner.” I agree wholeheartedly with the INDY’s assessment. Jamezetta, like Pam Hemminger, combines deep understanding of our schools, professional expertise in budgeting and long-term fiscal planning, and a commitment to ensuring that our county government serves the needs of all residents. Please join me in electing Jamezetta Bedford to the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

David Schwartz

Chapel Hill

Hauser the best choice

Bonnie Hauser has worked tirelessly to protect the rural community from an airport and from a transfer station, to promote better fire and ambulance services, to promote better biking regulations. She formed Orange County Voice so the rural community could have a voice in what is happening throughout Orange County.

OCV joined Justice United where Bonnie worked tirelessly with the Rogers Road community to correct decades old oppression of the community holding our garbage. She helped Minister Robert Campbell, of RENA, to write a mitigation plan to close the landfill, install new barriers, help eliminate many illegal dump sites, and create a plan to install sewer and water service. Bonnie is a strong supporter of Orange County schools, a major proponent of workforce/affordable housing and economic development.

Bonnie’s experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers gives her the financial background to effectively assess budgets and find resources to help take action on important programs for the community. She is a great listener who then finds a way to effectively implement programs. I have known Bonnie for over a decade and can attest to her abilities. In my view, Bonnie is the logical and best choice for Orange County Commissioner.

Tish Galu

Ocean View, Delaware

The writer is the former chair of Orange County Justice United.

Price has earned it

Please vote for Renee Price. Renee has shown herself to be an Orange County commissioner that has taken an interest in all facets of county government.

Renee is always open to hearing all different points of view and does her own research as well. She is never hasty to make a decision. And she has a proven track record of serving all of Orange County. You can point to her environmental efforts, Orange County history, My Brothers Keeper, the arts and many other areas.

As a parent, and a former vice chair of the Orange County Board of Education, I have greatly appreciated Ms. Price’s support of both school districts and her efforts to ensure that funding was provided in fair and equitable manor. Please re-elect Renee Price to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. She has surely earned it.

Lawrence Sanders Sr.

Hillsborough

Dorosin has compassion

I have seen the compassion that attorney Mark Dorosin has demonstrated eliminating inequalities and improving policies and practices that disenfranchise and harm members in our county, as well as North Carolina.

During his term of commissioner and before being elected, he has given leadership structure and insight to move this county into change that benefit all the residents. Commissioner Mark Dorosin helped implement infrastructural amenities, affordable housing, education, economic development and workforce skills throughout this county.

Justice, peace and equality have all flowed in the work of Commissioner Mark Dorosin. He is the true voice for diversity that Orange County needs. He has an ability to work with other county managers and other municipalities. His leadership and relationship with others is the foundation of his service to the people that promote family and communities. A vote for Commissioner Mark Dorosin is a vote that will ensure the pathway for a great future within this county.

Robert L Campbell

Chapel Hill

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