Real Thoughts about the ’08 Bonds

Something struck me as I was rereading GCS BOE Chairman Alan Duncan’s comments in today’s N&R:

Three things are essential for improving local schools, Duncan said: adult involvement, full funding from Guilford County, and voter support for next year’s school bonds.

With all due respect, Chairman Duncan, give us, the taxpayers, some reasons why we should support the bonds next year.

I’m about “keeping it real.” And here’s another example…no one is talking about what will happen if the bonds don’t pass.

As you know, I’m not a big fan of the bonds, and I’m not a big fan of this bond package at all. I think it was a terrible thing to put Eastern Guilford H.S. on next year’s bond package. I firmly believe this school system, the state’s third largest, has money to fund the construction of EGHS. But money in this system is constantly squandered…where is the money going?

If I say no to next year’s bonds, it is NOT a vote against EGHS, it is NOT a vote against education, it is a vote for change, and it is fundamental change that we desperately need down on Eugene Street. It will be a vote AGAINST the status quo.

I firmly believe the funding formula needs to be changed, both local and state. It is becoming really silly that the annual budget debate between the school board and the county board escalates into an annual brouhaha and it involves name-calling and other useless diatribes that do absolutely nothing to advance education in Guilford County. This county, quickly, is becoming the laughing-stock of the state. That’s not good.

Sure we have schools who have many students taking AP classes, but what are they scoring on those exams? Are they going to college? Our SAT scores are laughable. We have many schools that made AYP, but many more that didn’t. We have schools that made state benchmarks, but many more that didn’t. And we have board members that feel they need to spend more time debating the schoolwide distribution of literature and taking our scouts out of our schools than debating how do we get more of our kids to read, write, do basic algebra, pass a state exam and graduate.

Chairman Duncan, convince me that this bond package is worth my vote. Because my name will be on the same ballot next May as this bond. And hopefully, many other names will be on the May ballot who are also convinced that it is time for a change in Board leadership. Because right now, I’m just unconvinced.

E.C. 🙂

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