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What the heck is going on with education in Buncombe County?

We have a problem. Math and reading proficiency is very low. North Carolina is 48th in the country in per pupil spending. One time COVID money (54% of it) was spent on salaries. What happens when it runs out? Our beginning teacher pay is ranked 46th in the country. Enrollment is public schools is trending down. School buildings are in need of repair and upgrades.

What can be done and what can County Commissioners do and not do? The salary schedule for teachers is set by the state, not by the county. The County can budget money (from your taxes) for construction and maintenance, hiring costs, and other items not funded by the state. Basically, the county funds capital expenses. That being said, the County can fund "supplemental" salary amounts to help attract and retain teachers. Commissioners can reach out to State legislators and lobby them to fund education to the extent needed. Does anyone remember the N.C. Education lottery? Where is all that money going? Data shows that money does correlate to student performance, but it is not the only action that can help. Schoolboards can establish performance expectations and curriculum. Increasing emphasis on core curriculum such as reading, writing, math science, social studies, history and personal financial management is in the hands of school boards. Bringing discipline back to the classroom is within the purview of the school boards. Raising the bar for performance standards and expectations is needed. We can improve education if we elect leaders who will commit to fixing the problem.

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