Questions about HB 288
Recently I learned about a bill (HB 288) filed in the N.C. House of Representatives by member Jason Saine. The point in the bill that got my attention was an exemption for Lincoln County Schools from the earliest start date allowed by state statute of August 15 to August 1. I was under the assumption that local bills are usually requested by a local governing body such as the county commissioners or school board. To my knowledge no local discussion has been held concerning this bill by any governing body.
Based on research that I have conducted, the later starting date of August 15 had overwhelming support from citizens throughout North Carolina when presented as a bill in Raleigh several years ago.
I requested that Mr. Saine schedule some public meetings in Lincoln County to get feedback from citizens on his bill. I did not receive a reply on this request. Mr. Saine did not respond to several other questions and statements I presented on the matter and I appreciate his reply.
It is difficult for me to understand why a bill that will affect so many would be filed without some publicity in the area that will be affected as well as an opportunity provided for citizens to offer their opinion.
My main objective for this letter is to inform and not to state my opinion on the bill. The only opinion I have concerns the manner in which this bill was filed and handled without citizens of this county being aware of it. It is up to the citizens of Lincoln County to determine their position and whether they desire to inform Mr. Saine of it or to request some public hearings locally on the matter.
I spent April 20 watching one of the most fascinating events of the year in Lincoln County. We began the evening with a prime rib dinner provided by one of our well known restaurants. The food, service and fellowship were great. I understand that several of our local restaurants donated the food and assisted in serving for all three nights. Later we migrated down for a closer view of the auction activity and joined hundreds of spectators enjoying the entertainment of the talented auctioneers. The bid runners were filled with energy as they rushed the bleachers for bid raises and swiftly delivered them to the auction board handlers. The five board managers were constantly erasing numbers with new bids. The high school cheerleaders presented items for the Charter TV cameras. Interact and ROTC students also provided support.
The three Rotary Clubs of Lincoln County have shepherded this event for twenty years. Our citizens and merchants donate the items to be auctioned. Many local businesses and individuals donate thousands of dollars in addition, to several hundred Century Club members who donate one hundred dollars each.
The proceeds are available to all graduating Lincoln County High School students in the form of low interest loans for college. I understand they have raised in excess of two million dollars for loans. There are almost six hundred students participating and fifteen hundred loans are outstanding. Lincoln County has about six hundred fifty graduating students annually. The Rotarians have circulated around three million six hundred thousand dollars in loans. This is extraordinary.
These individuals are a credit to our community. The entire event is a perfect illustration of business and civic groups working in partnership to better our community. I have always heard that a community is known by what it gives back. This event requires a small army with the same agenda: helping our community and giving back for the privilege of living here.
Thank you, Rotarians, students, restaurant owners, businesses, individuals, donors and buyers for caring about Lincoln County. Citizens of Lincoln County, make your day and thank a Rotarian. Rotarians, thank you, thank you, thank you.