As a school system we must ensure that we are supporting our students. They are the reason that our teachers and staff work hard every day. We must be a voice for our students and be supportive of them. This means that we must help them get to where they want to be. Our system should ensure that students have the resources and backing to take the path they feel is right for them. We should always provide as many options and opportunities to our students as is possible while always looking out for their best interest. Students should have a voice in the learning process and must be given any needed resources to ensure that they have a comfortable and effective learning environment.
Cabarrus County Schools is blessed with amazing teachers and staff at all levels. In order to keep such a wonderful group of people, as well as utilize their full potential, we must ensure that they feel supported. While I would support raising the local supplement on teacher pay whenever the opportunity arises that is only a part of the support teachers and staff need. As a system we should ensure that all employees get the resources they need to do their job. Teachers having to pay for classroom items out of pocket is ridiculous and unfair. We should make sure that our budgets accommodate the classroom needs of teachers as well as the day to day needs of various other members of staff. We should also make sure that we support our teachers emotionally. When an educator or employee feels underappreciated or that when they give their all it is never enough we lose the ability to get the maximum effort out of that individual. We should always ensure that communication from teachers and staff is open and free without fear of retribution. Finally, we must be an advocate for our teachers to our state legislators and other elected officials.
As the world moves into the Twenty First Century we must ensure that we provide the resources for our students to adapt and be competitive. This means we need to continue to bring technology into our classrooms, but reasonably. We must recognize that we have budget constraints and that not all students have access to technology at home. We must also recognize that while technology has a place in the modern classroom we should not abandon tried and true methods. Technology in the classroom exposes our students to the technology they will encounter in the modern world, as well as the resources technology provides that can benefit them in numerous ways. If we can keep budget and the home lives of students in mind we can effectively and efficiently integrate technology into our classrooms, benefiting our students.
Many of our schools in Cabarrus County are overcrowded. We even have a school that is at its legal limit for mobile units. This is simply unacceptable. Building new schools is necessary to keep up with the growth happening across the county as well as to alleviate the overcrowding in the slower growing areas. While building a school is expensive and involves redistricting in many cases we must not back away from the process. For the best interest of our Students, Teachers, Staff, and communities we must be proactive in building schools. We know in many cases where growth is coming and we need to ensure that we are planning and saving to ensure that we can meet the needs that we are facing. Overcrowded schools are not the best environment for our students to learn in or for our teachers to teach in. We must ensure that we do all we can to keep class sizes down and schools at or right under capacity so that we have the best possible environment for all involved in our school communities.
Cabarrus County Schools is the largest single item in the county budget. We receive over Seventy million dollars from out County Commissioners to fund our schools and the total system budget, including state and federal dollars, is over Three hundred million dollars. With over thirty two thousand students and the necessary four thousand staff and teachers to accommodate them, as well as the forty one schools to educate them in, our budget can only go so far. We should look at the budget carefully and make sure that in addition to spending wisely we need to plan for the future. Sometimes it is worth it to spend more now to save money down the road. A great example of this is school maintenance. Deferred maintenance is going to be a huge cost to fix at once, however by properly maintaining our buildings and properties we will be less likely to need to replace school buildings when they should still be in great shape. Small things like this will save money down the road that will allow us to have more freed up money to invest in new schools to deal with growth, teacher pay and supplies, and student support and needs. Every dollar spent by Cabarrus County Schools should be used to its fullest potential to ensure that we are being responsible with tax payer money as well as getting the most for our system.
Cabarrus County Schools should have open and honest discussions at all levels. Discussion with students, teachers and staff, parents, and the community will all help provide useful insights that can be utilized to improve our system. We can more effectively help students be prepared for college and work upon graduation through such communication. We can make a larger impact on making teachers and staff feel appreciated with such discussions. The possibilities are endless when many views, points, and voices have a seat at the table. This communication will also allow our system to reflect the values and needs of our communities to ensure that everyone involved feels comfortable and has a sense of belonging.