Stemming from a discussion during the May Education Team meeting, the following letter was sent to the Board of County Commissioners regarding the proposed Board of Education budget.
Members of the Board of County Commissioners-
We are writing on behalf of the People's Alliance Education Team today to offer our support for the Board of Education proposal to provide 10.9m of additional dollars to fund the Durham Public Schools for the upcoming 2017-18 budget year. We are asking you today to stand with the BOE, and our community, to fully fund this request.
As we all know too well, our public schools are drastically underfunded at the state level, and the recent actions of the General Assembly fail to improve funding for public education. We recognize that local governments are left in an untenable position. But the fact remains that this is where we are, and that you, our County Commissioners, will make the final decision on funding for our schools in Durham in a way that allows for either continued support, or that further depletes a system that is already significantly strained.
We are aware that fully supporting the Board of Education's funding proposal requires homeowners to shoulder a tax increase on top of what is already slated in order to support the 2016 bond vote. While we share the frustration that we have to find this money locally at all, and stand with you in placing the blame squarely on the lack of state support, we also know that the citizens of Durham have consistently indicated that education is a service they are willing to increase taxes to support. Please listen to our citizens now.
As the People's Alliance Education Team, we can commit to you that we will continue to work to lobby the state for the funding that our schools and our children deserve along with other public education advocates. We will also continue to work with the Durham Board of Education to increase budget transparency and to utilize funding in a way that is both most efficient and funnels money to the places that best serve our children.
Funding the budget as the BOE has requested is critical if we want to support our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. We look forward to hearing the voices of the community with you on June 12th, and continuing to work alongside your board to support our public schools.
Molly Parks and Amanda Maris
Co-chairs of the People's Alliance Education Team