Letters to the editor — Feb. 27
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 27, 2020
Vote for sales and use tax
On the ballot this March, there is a tax issue that will be used 100% locally to fund schools and teacher supplements. Yet if you go to the polls without already knowing this, you might be confused by the language on the ballot. It says:
“Local sales and use tax at the rate of one-quarter percent (0.25%) in addition to all other state and local sales and use taxes.”
Nowhere does it mention education, and nowhere does it mention teacher supplements.
It is an unfortunate reality that in order to make teaching jobs more competitive, many counties must offer supplements to the state base salary. While Mark Johnson likes to claim that the average salary is over $50K, this actually reflects many counties that pick up part of the cost of paying teachers through local funding. Currently, Forsyth County offers the lowest supplement of any major urban county in the state and struggles to attract enough teachers to fill all positions. At the beginning of 2019-2020 school year, hundreds of teaching positions were vacant, and many of them remain vacant even now.
If a business owner is struggling to attract employees, they raise the wage. Without the leadership or support from Raleigh, we must do what we can locally to support stronger schools and pass the quarter-cent ballot measure on March 3. I urge everyone to vote FOR the local sales and use tax on March 3 and to spread the word about what this critical ballot measure will actually support.
— Chris Eklund
Eklund is a social studies teacher at West Forsyth High School.
The value of good teachers
If I had my way, starting teacher pay would be $100,000 annual income in Forsyth County. The value of a good teacher is truly not fathomable. So, I like the quarter of one percent tax. I want the good teachers to be encouraged to stay.
My major concern is that this money must go to teachers and only teachers. Every study I have ever seen is that the administrative personnel of secondary education in the U.S. has received a bloated amount of income and personnel growth from our taxes. A lot of positions seem unnecessary to many people. The increase of taxpayer money toward administrative positions has been growing for 70 years, disproportionally.
I emailed Ted Kaplan, Forsyth County commissioner, for his help with this question. His reply was that the funds will be given to the school system as a block and the system people have promised these funds will go to teachers, not administrative people, except admin folks who also teach.
When the Clemmons Courier reported on the council meeting where this was discussed, a promoting comment was that this tax will help keep good teachers. Of course, it will keep bad ones too. During the many years — many years ago — that my son attended the schools in this county, there were many teachers who were amazing and inspirational for him. The bad ones were few but stuck out like sore thumbs.
I want great teachers for our kids and support paying more to them.
— Paul Johnson
Dinner club memories
I thoroughly enjoyed the “Bless Your Spoon” article on the Bermuda Run Dinner Club by Stephanie Williams Dean. I am very close in age to the ladies profiled here and I, too, belonged to a dinner club back in the ’80s in a different state. Like these ladies, we forged friendships that lasted for many years. We too, were there for each other and collected recipes that other members provided once the meal was completed. We relied on Southern Living cookbooks to provide a lot of recipes that we shared. Back in the ’80s, many of the ladies, including me, used recipes submitted by women in Southern Living Magazine and cookbooks. Some of us would add our own creativity and come in with our take on something we saw in Southern Living. It was a lot fun and I still use several of the recipes men and women provided at these get-togethers once a month. Like these ladies, many of us moved and lifestyles changed for different reasons, but we will all still remember “The Dinner Club.” Earlene, Tammy and Carol — thanks for the memories and the recipes. Bon Appetit’!
— Toni Settle