Thursday, March 18, 2010

Save the schools or lose the city's soul

Posted By on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM

“What kind of city is Charlotte?” friends and acquaintances from out of town sometimes ask. I usually say something like, “A bit conservative for my taste, but that's actually changed a lot, plus there’s a strong sense of community involvement that’s rare these days in cities this size.”  Today, though, considering how nonchalantly city and county “leaders” seem to be taking the news of damaging cuts to our public schools, I’m wondering, but in stronger terms, “What the hell kind of city is this, anyway?”

I’m a longtime resident of Charlotte, and, call me quirky, but I think schools and libraries (as well as roads, fire and police protection) aren’t luxuries or fripperies — they’re the basics of a city’s life. These are necessities that need to be kept up to par if we don’t want to turn into Detroit. In other words, schools, libraries, etc. are civic responsibilities. It’s time that county government, including the school board, treat them as such, and start fighting for more money.

We’ve written here before of the need for tax hikes to save the schools. Today, when library employees are going to find out how many of them will soon be out of a job because of budget cuts, I’d add libraries to the beneficiaries of new taxes, too. After they’ve finished cutting jobs, library hours, the number of open branches, and whatever other damage they plan to do, it is essential that Charles Brown and the rest of the library honchos propose tax hikes to the county commission. The school board needs to find the courage to tell the county it needs to raise taxes; and while they’re at it, tell Charlotte's lawmakers in Raleigh to find more money for schools even if it means, yes, raising state taxes.

And if those things don’t work? Tap into Bank of America and Wells Fargo — they’ve done enough damage around here, to both the community and their own reputations, that they frankly owe the city a big gesture of support. And it doesn’t hurt that saving the schools this year would go a long way toward repairing their image, last seen circling the toilet bowl.

In plain terms, school board and county commission members, do the job you ran for, protect the kids, and fulfill the basic social need you're supposed to be there to provide. Isn't this stuff supposed to be obvious?

Don't mess around with kids' futures
  • Don't mess around with kids' futures

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