Monday, June 2, 2014
This afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Wake County Board of Commissioners as part of their Public Hearing on the County Manager's Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 - 2015. With the importance of this upcoming fiscal year, I'm pleased that the County Commissioners opened their meeting for public comment, just like they will do again this evening. Here is what I shared with our County Commissioners and community attendees this afternoon:
"My name is Emily Parks. I am a Wake County business owner, and I partner with other small businesses in the area. As a product of North Carolina's public schools, I have always strongly supported our public school system. I believe wholeheartedly that much of what makes Wake County and North Carolina such a great place to live and do business is our historical support for public education.
Our schools provide local businesses with their workforces, and this human talent is vital for our community's success. Further, it is with a strong school system that Wake County can compete to bring in new businesses, big businesses, that will employ our neighbors and contribute taxes.
However, I am troubled by what I'm seeing in our community for our public school system. We absolutely must stop the exodus of our most highly qualified educators. Yes, we compete with other counties across North Carolina, but we most aggressively compete with other states for these talented teachers. Wake County's teachers deserve our respect, and the proposed pay increase is just a start but an excellent step in a right direction.
Please support the future of our businesses and this community by voting to approve the proposed budget."
The proposed budget that I addressed in my comments provides a 3.5% pay increase for our county's teachers, those men and women who are sorely underpaid, have not had a pay increase in many years and are leaving for other areas of the country that provide more adequate compensation for their teachers or for other industries which pay more. While the Wake County Board of Commissioners' vote on this proposed budget is still a week or two away, I believe this topic is important and that related discussions should be encouraged. Are there issues impacting your business and your community about which you feel strongly? If so, how do you make your feelings about those issues known?