As the school year gets underway, the energy and enthusiasm building within each and every one of the neighborhood public schools in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is proof positive that students win when parents, educators, and community members and leaders come to together.

Unfortunately, the vast improvements we have made and the promise that our schools hold are under attack by members of the North Carolina legislature.  State lawmakers in Raleigh are slashing vital support for our neighborhood public schools to pay for tax breaks that benefit large corporations and the wealthy.

They are starving our public schools with drastic education funding cuts that threaten to undermine our progress.  The devastating effects can be seen in the reductions to per pupil spending.  These state lawmakers are diverging already scarce dollars away from our classrooms to fund private school voucher schemes that enrich corporate school operators.

Ultimately, it is all children who are hurt by these cuts in funding for classroom supports and teacher pay.  Like school districts all around the state, CHCCS has grappled with these devastating funding cuts which has resulted in the layoffs of teachers and teacher assistants and the privatization of custodial positions.

While we applaud the increase in salary for teachers at the lower end of the pay scale, the widely touted pay raise for teachers is largely a show of smoke and mirrors.

It is up to us to hold our elected leaders accountable.  Let’s build on what we started by participating in the upcoming November elections and supporting candidates that will stand with us and build up our public schools instead of continuing with the destructive practices that only serve to tear them down.

Let’s renew our commitment to reclaiming the promise of public education in our community, our district, and our nation.  It is up to us to work together to ensure that all of our children are empowered to dream their dreams and achieve them.

— Dianne Jackson


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