One of the most important things you can do is to let your state and local representatives know how much you value public education. Call, write or email them and let them know you want this to be a priority. Using this link http://www.meckboe.org/AddressSearch.aspx from the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, you can type in your address to find out the names of your local and state representatives, and the links to their contact information. And if you choose, you can use the script below in the body of a letter or email.
As my representative, I ask that you please consider the following when making your budget and legislative decisions that affect the CMS school system:
1. The education of our children is at least as important as any other budget line item you must consider and more important than most. We cannot attract and retain businesses and, therefore people, to this state if we do have an educated workforce and a top notch educational system. The CMS system has already slashed all of the “easy” areas from its budget over the past several years having cut over $185 million dollars from the budget since 2007. All that is left to cut are items that directly impact our students, including drastic reductions in the pre-school program, increasing the teacher to student ratio and reducing weighted student staffing which provides extra attention to those students who need it. These programs have allowed CMS schools to increase student performance and make strides toward closing the achievement gap. Cuts this deep will have an immediate and significant detrimental effect on our children, our communities and our state.
2. The school districts need to have the flexibility to use state funds in the manner that best meets the needs of that district’s children. A rural school district has different needs than an urban one. The closer you get to the child, the better knowledge you have as to what that particular child needs. The state legislature is too far removed from our children to make informed decisions as to where funds can best be used. The district superintendents need flexibility and the principals in each school need flexibility to decide the best use of the available funds. If the schools cannot be allotted more funds, then they should at least be given the flexibility to use the funds they have in the manner they deem best for our children.
3. Public schools should not be more heavily regulated and should have the same relief from state laws and regulations that charter schools receive. As noted above, flexibility in the hands of those closest to the children is the best way to get the most out of limited funds. Please do not tie the hands of those who are trying to help our children succeed.
You are in a position to make a difference in the lives of every single child in this state. The decisions you make will not be easy. I ask that you please listen to the teachers and principals and school superintendents who are closest to our children so you can make the best decisions for each child.
Thank you for the service you provide to Mecklenburg County and this state.