Today is Election Day and, as the Chamber has been saying all year, no vote is more important than that regarding the education bonds and the ¼-cent sales tax. The Chamber considers the two bonds and the sales tax (as an additional resource for paying for them) as votes in support of economic development. As the schools go, so goes the local labor market; and, as the labor market goes, so goes our community’s competitiveness. Today’s blog provides perspectives from two school and community leaders on the importance of the vote today.
Why the Bonds? Why Now?
By: Allison Gant
Chair, Alamance-Burlington Board of Education
I was recently quoted, “It’s time to be bold!” Here in Alamance County we are at a crossroads for our community. By that, I mean we have an opportunity to propel our entire community forward by voting for both education bonds and the quarter percent sale tax increase. Education is an economic driver for any community and today will set the stage for what our citizens can expect for our collective future. There is no greater investment we can make than in our children; they are our community’s future. Let’s be bold so we can ensure the infrastructure needed for their success.
Through the years our predecessors invested for us so now is the time for us to do the same—to pay it forward for years to come with construction of a much-needed new high school and significant specified upgrades for our high schools and two elementary schools. The most recent high school in Alamance County, Hugh M. Cummings High School, was constructed in 1970 when Richard Nixon was president. Before that, in 1962 and 1963, three of our county high schools were constructed (Eastern, Graham, Western) and South Mebane Elementary when John F. Kennedy was President. In 1960, during the Eisenhower presidency, Southern Alamance High was built, and Harry Truman was president in 1952 when Pleasant Grove was built and also in 1948 when Williams High was constructed.
In 2004, Alamance County supported the last bond in our community that built Highland Elementary School, needed for growth in the western portion of the county, and to support some small classroom additions at overcrowded schools and roof replacements/repairs at other schools. Since then, our investments for building improvements and upgrades have remained stagnant. As a result, now we have 20 years of deferred maintenance in our local schools and the needs are great. Our buildings’ structures are strong and sturdy but heavy use over decades has taken its toll. It’s time to be bold—to invest in refreshing and renewing our public school buildings to serve children for another 50 to 60 years.
Both bonds on the ballot go hand in glove for our community by supporting the work of the Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS) and Alamance Community College (ACC) through a kindergarten to career focus. Each educational institution views the other as an essential partner in supporting every student with the best education outcome possible that will ensure each student’s career success. When students succeed, our community wins.
Passage of the bonds will help begin the process to secure much needed funds for updates and provide a new high school to address our county’s growth. Support for the quarter percent sales tax increase will ensure that all citizens share in support for public education for our community. Waiting is NOT an option for our county. Our community’s children deserve appropriate and adequate educational environments. Alamance County has recognized the importance of investing in education through the decades and it is time again to express support for our students and teachers and for our community’s future success.
I challenge you to “BE BOLD” and support all three referendums on the ballot. VOTE 3!
By: Bill Gomory
Passage of Alamance County Community College’s bond resolution will be arguably the most important single event in the history of the College. It represents the difference between staying on the cutting edge of 21st Century workforce training or maintaining the current status-quo. If you are not moving forward, you are being left behind.
The bond resolution provides funding for these key projects and more:
- Construction of a new Biotechnology Center, which will provide advanced training in one of today’s and the future’s highest demand and quickly evolving job markets.
- Construction of a new Public Safety Training Center, which will consolidate offerings to one location and expand the College’s ability to train law enforcement and firefighting. This will allow us to meet the training needs of our County Agencies as well as become a regional training center for those outside our County.
- Construction of a new Student Services Learning and Development Center, which will allow students access to Advising, Admissions, Career Services, Counseling, Veteran Services, and Financial Aid all in one location. The ability of students to easily navigate these areas is a proven key to students’ ability to achieve their educational goals.
- Expansion of ACC’s 5-Star Child Care Center, which not only provides safe child care for the community’s youngsters but also serves as a hands-on-training facility for students earing degrees in Early Childhood Education.
- The ability to provide limited focus programs in satellite campus locations in Eastern and Western Alamance County, providing convenience for both students and access to the industries that match those programs.
Providing the training needed by the citizens of Alamance County is the key role of ACC. A well trained citizenry is key to the ability of our County to attract and retain business and industry. A well trained citizenry is a better paid citizenry. Now is the time to invest in our future. Vote yes on the ACC Bond, the ABSS Bond, and the ¼ cent sale tax. Our future is in your hands.