Wednesday, 02 November 2016 10:23

School tax: Count us as naysayers

Written by  Pat and Bill Croisetiere
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Count us in as "naysayers" but not as a "fearmongers.”

In local funding yes, Halifax County Schools are 114 out of 115.
However, that is one-third of this equation.
In federal funding, they are ranked first.
In state funding they are ranked 15th. Their allocation per student is $11,777.
That is $3,043 more than the state average per child and $2,777 more than the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District.
It is misleading to only quote local funding. They are ranked 9th in the state in total spending.
While we are talking numbers, let's talk about the number of students and budgets.
Weldon has 936 students and has a $12.9 million budget.
Roanoke Rapids has 2,907 students with a budget of $26.3 million.
Halifax has 2,939 students and a budget of $34.6 million.
Yes, HCS has $34.6 million versus Roanoke Rapids’ $26.3 Million. Halifax gets $8.3 million more in funding than RR each year. That is significant.
More money is needed to hire additional teachers?
Are you aware HCS have been losing an average of 210 students per year for the at least last 10 years? — 225 this past year — Generally that equals a reduction in staff and administration.
Should schools be merging in Halifax County to cut back on operating costs? Where is the management?
One year ago, a letter from the chairman of the State Board of Education concluded that, "The the Halifax County School Board and leadership are unable or unwilling to make sound financial decisions in order to sustain a financially viable school district."
That concerns us — decades of "academic genocide" is not erased by one school year of improvement — when the state had to intervene, Superior Court Judge Manning referred to it in that way.
We believe Halifax County students deserve much better than this.
It is our understanding that federal and state dollars follow students to charter schools as it should. Those schools are extremely successful on far less money.
Yes, the Halifax County School Board is asking for a 10 cents per $100 increase in property taxes. That number is subject to change after the election and any or every year thereafter. Nobody knows who might be elected to the board of commissioners in the future. They vote on the amount of the tax.
It's wonderful the children are showing progress. It's important to note they are doing so without more money. Proper fiscal responsibility and management by the Halifax County School Board will ensure this continues; not more money.
These are just some of the reasons we will be voting against the supplemental tax referendum.

Pat and Bill Croisetiere




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