LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stanly County Schools needs funding

Published 6:13 pm Sunday, June 2, 2019

My name is Mack Mabry. I grew up in Stanly County, still have some family members in your community and still pay Stanly County property taxes. Currently I live in Southern California and have lived on the West Coast for more than 20 years.

I think you described well one of the challenges that local parents and children confront in their efforts to become educated and competitive in the global economy of the future.

The truth is that the children of Stanly County are being failed by their educators, school board members, local politicians and the general public.

The schools are lousy. Albemarle High School’s most recently published average SAT score (938) is no better that the average score of the Compton Unified school district.

Compton schools are rated 1,200 of approximately 1,400 schools in California. The children there have to navigate drugs, violence (Compton is home to founding “sets” of the CRIPS) and grinding poverty — yet they do as well as kids in your town.

The school system is underfunded. Inadequate budgets have driven actions such as kindergarten children and first-grade children arriving at school to start at 7:15 a.m., which translates to some kids getting on the bus at 5:30 a.m. which drives awakening an hour before that for bathing, dressing and breakfast.

All because the schools cannot afford to pay drivers enough to hire the numbers needed.

Last weekend there was a story in your pages about needs that have arisen due to deferred maintenance that indicate children are being schooled in buildings with asbestos — a known potent carcinogen.

The schools are poorly run and prior administrations have not shown sufficient competence to gain public support.

There is a history of nude selfies and other shenanigans described in the pages of your newspaper. Those actions are corrosive to public confidence needed to support the needed expenditures.

As you point out in your piece, school board members meddle and micro-manage well beyond their competence and experience.

In addition to the recent actions on a incoherently described 2019-2020 budget, we have the Oakboro STEM school that shows that effective STEM education requires subject matter experts and dedicated materials who cost more than your system is willing to pay.

The projects that are described as STEM projects in your pages are embarrassing PR stunts. For this Oakboro STEM School that sops up scarce resources, we can thank Melvin Poole.

In summary, the schools must be run much better by the school administrators and school board before the county residents and the commissioners will provide the needed revenues. The kids and their parents deserve much, much more than they are getting.

Mack Mabry
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.