John and his wife Janice have three children enrolled in Wake County Public Schools. They are active in the PTA at the elementary school where all three of their children have been taught and loved by excellent teachers and staff. John’s parents, his stepmom, and sister are public school teachers in North Carolina. He has spent his life surrounded by teachers. There is nothing more important to John than seeing his children get a top-notch education so that they are ready for the challenges that will face them in the future. He believes that Wake County’s public schools have, so far, given them that education.
But there is an undeniable link between the way school teachers are treated and the quality of education that students receive. Wake County was losing too many quality teachers to other places because we have failed to treat them like professionals and pay them what they are worth. As a result, our children were at risk.
Since taking office, John and his colleagues have worked to do something about this situation. The answer, it turns out, is relatively simple. They have begun a fundamentally new relationship with our School Board. By working collaboratively to tackle budget and construction issues, rather than fighting, John and his colleagues have been able to solve issues instead of escalating them. For example, the Commissioners and the School Board worked together to save the Athens Drive library and improve service at that important institution.
In June, the Commission passed a landmark budget that will begin to fill in the gap left by our State Government in teacher pay and investment in the schools. It represents the largest single-year increase in public school funding in Wake County’s history. And it marks a return to making public education a top priority of Wake County government.
We are making progress. John urges you to volunteer in your local public school. See the work your teachers and administrators are doing. We’re moving forward on education.