TLR Staff Report
A new political action committee dedicated to improving maintenance and making needed repairs in local schools will hold an informational event Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at OWASA.
Schools in Orange County — or S.O.S. — is focused on funding safe schools for students and teachers, says a press release from the group.
According to the organization, local schools have a backlog of more than $260 million in critical maintenance and repairs. Every day 20,000 students, teachers and staff in the county go to school in buildings with leaky roofs, mold, HVAC problems and security issues, says the PAC.
Annual funding from the Board of County Commissioners, the organization says, is insufficient to address current maintenance and repair needs, let alone the backlog.
According to the release, “the urgent maintenance and repair needs of both districts, along with plans to address them, are presented annually to the BOCC. Every day our county fails to act costs us money. On March 3, the Democratic primary will decide the election for four Orange County Commissioner seats. S.O.S. will back candidates who prioritize fixing this problem.”
“Most people don’t know what county commissioners do, and that the N.C. Constitution gives counties the responsibility for funding school facilities,” says S.O.S. leader Cassie Ford. “Parents may be aware that the school buildings are in poor condition, but they don’t understand how big the problem is in Orange County or who has the power to fix it.
“This is a very important election for us locally. Now is the time to ask commissioner candidates about safe schools. Every day we delay in addressing this problem costs taxpayers more money, as building costs go up and our schools age.”
Patrick Abele, assistant superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, will speak at the meeting at OWASA.