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Reader’s Forum — 5-23-14


An open letter to Lincoln County


In the newly proposed County budget:

Teachers would get no increase in county-funded supplements, which is a projected $213,000 shortfall, a half a percent salary increase. Lincoln County Schools’ average supplement is $2,928, compared with the state average of $3,553 — a $625 difference, or 18 percent. Of the teachers who left the ranks of LCS last year, 25 percent of them went to neighboring counties and states for better pay.

Principals would get no increase in county-funded supplements, which is a projected $10,000 shortfall.

However, county employees would receive a 2.5 percent raise. The county would also cover the additional cost of health insurance premiums, approximately 6.5 percent.

Additional LCS budgetary shortfalls include: $210,000 utilities increase, $320,000 fixed costs increase, $130,000 technology improvement, $112,000 teachers assistants and $140,000 instructional supplies.

The increase for LCS in the proposed budget is $259,00. The total unfunded request was $809,000.

County tax receipts spent on education: 49 percent in Mecklenburg County, 44 percent in Iredell County, 36.2 percent in Cleveland County, 36 percent in Catawba County and 34 percent in Lincoln County.

Tax rates by County: Mecklenburg $1.01, Cleveland $.72, Lincoln $.59, Catawba $.53, Iredell $.49.

I appreciate that the County Commission has brought us through a very difficult fiscal climate. I also believe that a $.01 increase per $100 valuation, which amounts to $15 per household, to support education is warranted and affordable: unemployment is down, sales tax revenue is up and building permits are up.

I believe that educating the children of this county, state and country is the only way that we can compete in a global economy, and the only way to slow the wage slide that has affected so many people in the past three decades. Asking about education in the county is one of the first things that prospective companies and families ask about prior to moving into a county. How are we responding to these questions under the proposed new budget?

I don’t have kids, or prospects for any grandkids, to be enrolled in LCS.

I am willing to pay my share of the $0.01 increase per $100 valuation to educate our children!

George Barr




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