I understand that Orange County schools don't want to raise taxes to pay for better schools and better education, I grew up in the country and I can see how they have bought into the Republican lie that taxes are some kind of inconvenience. In fact, taxes are the membership fees you pay for living in our society. As anyone who has ever joined a gym knows, the better the facility, the higher the membership fees. So, OC has schools that are not up to snuff with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school systems. They aren't bad, they just aren't as good as the town schools.
What to do? How to save some bucks so you don't have to raise those dreaded taxes?
HILLSBOROUGH -- The Orange County school board is considering ending an agreement it has with a preschool program for children with developmental disabilities to house it in an unused building on one of its campuses.
...It's a move Linda Foxworth, director of the program, said she opposes.
"I would be really disappointed if this board asked to move its handicapped children to put staff in there," Foxworth said during a school board meeting Monday night.
District officials, though, said they could use the space for their own staff. Currently, the district has 32 staff members who work out of schools, rather than in the central office. While all 32 would not fit in the Hillsborough Elementary building, some could, said George McFarley, the assistant superintendent for support services.
Having more staff members in one building -- rather than spread all over the district -- would be more convenient, he told the board.
"It's kind of difficult right now to get all the heads together to make a decision," McFarley said. "It would make sense to all be in one space."
Convenient? Yes, that's right, it would be convenient for Orange County to toss the handicapped out onto the streets. Well, maybe you say, that the school needs these facilities and the handicapped kids aren't paying - so off they go!
Beyond the immorality and downright evilness of that way of thinking, there is this.
And, while CHTOP pays only nominal rent, it has improved the building, she said. In 1996, program officials spent $100,000 on renovations, Foxworth said. The next year, she said, the program paid for a $30,000 heating and cooling system. It has also paid for a playground and various other upgrades, Foxworth said.
But schools superintendent Shirley Carraway said as the district grows, schools are going to run out of space for central office workers to have offices. The Hillsborough Elementary space could be useful, she said.
"A department could potentially fit there," she said. "For example, curriculum and instruction."
So, let's see. You put these handicapped kids into a beat up old classroom that needed $100,000 in repairs, then a $30,000 HVAC upgrade, with old playground equipment and other things falling apart. NOW, that they have fixed it up, you want to kick them out?
That is morally reprehensible and I hope that every resident of the county will remember that the next time school board elections come around. When the Superintendent was hired, she had this to say:
"I'm just excited and looking forward to getting into Orange County," Carraway said.
"I have a lot of excitement, a lot of energy and a lot of ideas," she said. "I hope to bring a collaborative spirit."
I don't see so much of a collaborative spirit as I do a willingness to dump handicapped kids into a crappy classroom, have them fix it up, then kick them out. Nice.
Voice your outrage, contact the Superintendent.
Shirley Carraway - Superintendent