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OUR VIEW: SCS got the votes, now it must keep trust

The narrow approval of the additional sales tax for Stanly County schools was not the overwhelming vote of confidence this issue should have received, but it was enough.

While the majority of tax initiatives failed across the country, local voters had enough foresight to say yes to improving our schools through a quarter cent sales tax and increasing efforts to keep students secure while on campus.

The victory makes the past four failures of this proposal sting less, but it is clear the schools have more work to do to bring the community alongside its efforts to become better.

The job of the school system now is to use the community’s increased investment wisely. With this increased investment should come increased accountability. We all have a little extra skin in the game every time we buy a new television or buy supplies for a home improvement project.

Stanly County taxpayers should rightly ask what these additional funds are being used for and should receive solid answers and examples from the school system. It should be easy to track how this $1.5 million windfall is used since the administration did a good job telling everyone exactly which safety and security improvements would be made.

The community has made a significant investment. The sales tax initiative received support from every governing body and several other entities throughout the county. The community should see results.

This tax will not end when those improvements have been completed. This measure should continue benefitting our schools for decades to come. After the security improvements have been completed, the $1.5 million or more should not fade into the operating budget and become an expected source of revenue. These funds should be set aside to provide for specific initiatives, so we can continue seeing the benefits of Tuesday’s narrow victory.

Superintendent Jeff James promised to continue to be transparent.

That will be important moving forward.

It is clear the school system has earned enough of the community’s trust to win a narrow victory. Keeping that trust and building on it will be the key to a successful partnership between the schools and the community for years to come.