LETTER — We can’t let our schools fall behind

Published 4:15 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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To The Editor:

I am a proud product of Charlotte County Public Schools. The person that I am today, and every accomplishment I’ve achieved, is built on the solid foundation I received at Bacon District Elementary, Central Middle, and Randolph-Henry High School.

As I look at my graduating class of Ph.Ds, nurses, military leaders, entrepreneurs, and IT professionals in Silicon Valley, I see that my story is not an exception. Despite every challenge the county faces, CCPS gets results. While every statistic says we should be failing, we instead produce graduates who consistently climb to the heights of their profession and achieve great success.

Today, I have three daughters attending Bacon District Elementary School, and I can tell you CCPS’ legacy of success is alive and well. From the School Board to the bus driver, every single person puts the needs of CCPS students first. Safe and comfortable buildings are an important part of the educational process for the students as well as providing the proper work environment for teachers and staff. That is why I’m proud to support the yes for schools campaign.

I understand this vote comes at a difficult time. Our whole world has been turned upside down by COVID-19, and it’s hard to know what tomorrow will bring. My husband owns property and operates a business in Charlotte County, so I know the challenges. But what I love about Charlotte County is that no one fights alone, and in the darkest moments this community comes together and stands strong like few others. I’m asking you to vote yes because we need to stand together for our children.

A 1% sales tax increase literally translates into pennies more on a purchase. Instead of paying $2.07 we’ll pay $2.09; instead of paying $6.30 for paper towels we’ll pay $6.37. The beauty is that anyone who shops within the county, whether they’re from Chase City or Cincinnati, will be investing in our schools. Halifax County voted yes on this same referendum question last November, and the change took effect this year. If you’re shopping at South Boston’s Walmart or Lowes then you’re already paying 1% more, but the money is going to Halifax schools and not Charlotte County’s. Other localities are putting this same issue to a vote, and those who vote yes will have a clear advantage over those who vote no. We can’t allow CCPS to fall behind.

I don’t love taxes — no one does. But all taxes are not created equal. For one, the sales tax increase has a pre-determined end date that is mandated by the legislation. Secondly, this increase is not a blind tax being used by politicians for their pet projects. All funds from the 1% sales tax increase, by law, have to go to our schools. This money is an investment in our future that will pay dividends 100-fold for years to come.

So please, when you cast your vote, vote yes for the 1% sales tax referendum. It is yes for the future, yes for our children, yes for schools.

Hope Harris-Gayles