Commissioners support schools
Occasionally, kind souls will say to me, “Thank you for serving on the School Board. That’s a really thankless job.” The truth is that the work is interesting, I serve with colleagues of great integrity, and, in a recent town survey, an astounding 88 percent of the respondents said that the quality of the public schools was important or very important in their choice to move to Chapel Hill.
Also, we do the work with the financial support of county leaders who have a longstanding record of support for the public schools. Very few of the 115 school districts in the state can say, as we can, that they have a collaborative relationship with their cmmissioners.
I was surprised to see the comment in the Op-Ed, “Budgets showcase dysfunctional fiscal priorities” (CHN, March 18, http://bit.ly/GJdeoG
) that says that “county leaders asked the schools to cut their budgets by $1.2 million, the same amount as the new sales tax would provide.”
As Chair of the Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board, I can attest that they did no such thing.
A county staff member shared some preliminary, hypothetical numbers to school and county leaders which showed a potential cut, but those numbers had not been vetted in any way by County leadership.
I was quoted in another publication saying that this was the “first thought” on the topic but I doubt very much that county leadership would follow that path. By word and deed, our county commissioners show they understand the importance of public education to our children and our democracy.Mia Burroughs Chair, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education More to the story
I do not have school age children now, but when I did the schools always sent home information about riding the school bus. In North Carolina, riding the school bus is a privilege, not a right (similar to holding a drivers license). If students do not abide by the rules, their privilege to ride the bus can be suspended or revoked.
So, what about the other 25 or so students who may have been in jeopardy because the school bus driver was distracted by one student’s behavior? (CHN, March 18, http://bit.ly/GKSG2s
) Rules are in place for a reason.
Did the school bus personnel have knowledge of the student’s Aspberger syndrome diagnosis?
Maybe this child should ride a different bus that has a monitor and is more equipped to handle children under these circumstances.
I know the school system cannot release specific information on this incident. But, it just seems to me that there is more to this story than the student in question just trying to get around another student to his favorite seat.Laura Bell AshevilleOn the mend
Last summer, my personal world fell apart. My safe, interesting life of writing books and traveling crashed on the shores of a heart attack, compression fractures, and cancer.
In October 2009, I had to stop teaching because my heart went out of rhythm. During that time, doctors also diagnosed me with cancer. However, I didn’t have many problems until June of 2011, when I had a heart attack. That September, one of my daughters was diagnosed with breast cancer.
My own health deteriorated further. My husband’s did also, and he ended up in the veterans’ nursing home in Fayetteville. I spent some time in and out of the hospital, and in two nursing homes. There was nothing I wanted more than to return to my own home and to finish writing my fifth book.
New friends appeared. Burwell took my little dog, Rambo, while I was in the nursing home. His Aunt Ruthie was my roommate there, and we became friends. Once I was able to return home, old friends rallied to my call for help and came to visit me. A brilliant young woman was found to help me with my book because I am not computer literate. My children came for Thanksgiving, and again for Christmas, and for New Year’s.
Slowly, my world returned to normal. To my great relief, I found that I could write once more, and I began to work. My book slowly grew from a rough sketch into a full novel. Writing was my raison d’etre, and the need to finish my book kept me going through the most difficult parts of my illness. Although I now drive a car only rarely, I am able to manage my own affairs. My life has become interesting and productive.
My daughter’s prognosis is good, and my husband’s circumstances are much happier than they were. I can write – and best of all, I can laugh once again.Ariana Mangum Chapel Hill Cleanup vote rushed
Decades of disrespect of a historic community were continued in the rushed vote by the Orange County Commissioners to avoid cleanup of debris in the Rogers Road community.
On Tuesday, March 13 2012, with little advance notice to the community, the County Commissioners voted not to clean up the largest legacy dump sites.
Owners of multiple parcels freely granted access, and were told they would be “kept in the loop.” They received no notice that a vote would take place at the March 13 meeting.
The “research” used as the basis of the decision was superficial. County staff walked property and took photos. The County did no further investigation. No testing was done, no excavation, no digging, no soil sampling.
There is no basis for any assumption that there are “toxic” materials, no documented basis for concern about liability. Previous visits by the State Department of Environmental Resources and the Town of Carrboro indicated that the waste consists only of “inert materials,” mainly old construction and demolition debris such as concrete.
There are state funds available to assist in the cleanup where it impacts streams. It is not apparent that the County looked into this option.
After the initial visit, promised information was not provided: owners were never contacted again, never invited to meetings on the topic, and not informed there would be discussion or voting on the use of cleanup funds. They were not invited to discuss the situation with the Commissioners.
It is too early to close this discussion. The topic should be re-opened by the commissioners after the next elections.
There are many more decisions to be made about how we address the needs of the Rogers Road Community, foremost among them, sewer service to the whole community, coming up from the Carrboro side and available to serve other neighborhoods as well.
Lip service should stop, and social service should begin.David Bellin CarrboroNominate a ‘Great Main Street’
Whether it’s Franklin Street or Weaver Street, North Carolina is filled with great central gathering places. Now you can nominate your favorite to be recognized as a “Great Main Street.”
As part of “Great Places in North Carolina,” an initiative sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association, folks can nominate and vote on a People’s Choice for a great main street anywhere in North Carolina. Go to www.nc-apa.org/greatplaces
for more information. Don’t delay. Nominations close on March 30. Then the online voting will begin!
An expert panel will also select three “Great Main Streets” across the state and a “Great Place in the Making” from nominations submitted by APA-NC members
Final selections will be announced in late May. Help us recognize the places that make North Carolina great!Fleming El-Amin President, North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association
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