School Reform Speech

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Burns: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to talk about progress. Three years agao wake co was losing teachers ata record rate. This county had in the prior four years had provided little to no annual increases in educ. Fundint despite ongoing and significant growth in county and school populations. We well behind in per pupil spending and singular focus on tax rate over all other issues have left us behind all our peer counties in school funing and teacher pay. Not only that, we had a shortage of behavioral health services, our fire service budget and pay paln were archaic, we had unspent resources for cultural and sports projects, and we had a frozen and underfunded library system. A long dealyaed transit plan languaigehd and gathered dust…show more content…
We have provided increased but still insufficient resources in behavioral health. As we have heard today just to get our behavioral health servces up to Medicaid levels requires 366 million more dollars a year. That is a 25.25 cent increase in our property tax rate annually. We are meeting those burdens at all. But, we have included new beds and chairs for crisis paitens and have begun to free up emergency rooms to handle physical emergencies. We opened a new western wake service center to provide health services to the western part of the county. Laast year we opened a womens clinic on capital boulevard that provides prenatal services to hundered of women a year. We opened new community libraries, maintained Athens drive library, and today provide funding for Sunday hours at 3 libraries. We have funded significant projects, athletic facilities, performing arts projects, and a beautiful new park at the NC musem of art. We have done all this while maintaining the lowest tax rate in the area. 8 months ago after 2 years of effort this county unleradr leadership fo chair and vice chair finally passed a transit plan that will alter the way this county commutes and develops for the better. By any rationale standard this is progress. This is success. Today’s budget continues that focus on moving wake forward. It is what I promised to do. We promised to do. We promised to be willing to raise taxes
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