Guilford County Board of Education's Legislative Luncheon
The Guilford County Board of Education hosted a luncheon for federal, state and local government officials to discuss critical issues facing public schools, including Guilford County Schools. The board organized the event to present its positions on key issues and to remind elected officials that their work makes an impact on their youngest constituents. Held in the media center of Eastern High, students helped greet attendees, gave school tours and provided music during lunch.
Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green gave a brief update on the progress of strategic plan measures, accomplishments and the challenges that remain. Next, Board Member Darlene Garrett presented critical state funding issues. Garrett called on the state to keep promises made regarding ABC bonuses at the beginning of the fiscal year by paying the remainder of the bonuses earned by staff but not paid by the state for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Another funding issue that has come up before is to exempt public schools from the N.C. sales tax or reinstate local education agencies as governmental entities eligible to receive a sales tax refund.
Board Vice-Chairman Amos Quick, III, touched on local board operation and authority expressing a desire for more flexibility in the use of state allocations as well as more flexibility to the North Carolina public school calendar. In 2004, the General Assembly passed legislation dictating when school begins and ends.
“Our students need more time in the school day, and the regulations governing school calendars make it difficult to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students and staff, especially when we experience tough winters like the one we had this year,” said Quick.
Members of the board discussed an array of other topics including the importance of providing professional development to teachers, addressing the classified pay scale, improving ways to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten education and reducing MWBE barriers.
Board member and legislative committee chairwoman Kris Cooke closed the luncheon by opening the floor to questions, and several elected officials acknowledged the difficult budget.
“We’re counting on you to serve as the voices of our children, teachers, principals and our entire community,” concluded Cooke.