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Lewisville supports quarter-cent sales tax increase for teachers

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Lewisville Town Council approved a resolution of support for Forsyth County to add a ¼-cent sales tax appearing on the March 3 primary ballot dedicated to teacher pay in last Thursday night’s meeting.

Lewisville unanimously passed the resolution, which has been presented to municipalities throughout the county by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners in an initiative to address teacher compensation supplements. The county has the lowest local teacher compensation supplement among the state’s top five urban areas.

Mike Horn, Lewisville’s mayor, said that the resolution was first discussed at the town’s agenda briefing Feb. 6 and that the council was “unanimous to put this on the agenda and support it.” Regarding the vote at the Feb. 13 council meeting, Horn said that the only comment from the council was, “This is a no brainer.”

The Clemmons Village Council will have the resolution on its agenda for the third straight meeting Monday night (Feb. 24) after deliberating on some of the wording in its previous meeting last Monday night and deciding that more information on the matter should be made available to voters. Several Clemmons council members stated they didn’t want to tell the people how to vote.

Clemmons had Ted Kaplan, a Forsyth County commissioner, speak at two meetings to provide details on the decision to seek a ¼-cent sales tax for teacher pay along with answering questions, and he was joined by Angela Hairston, superintendent of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, at one meeting and Deanna Kaplan, with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education, at the other meeting.

Here’s a draft of the resolution that was presented to both the Clemmons and Lewisville councils:

Resolution supporting ¼-cent sales tax for teacher pay

Whereas: Providing our children with quality education is critical for their success in life, the success of our community in attracting and keeping good paying jobs, lowering crime and in general fostering healthier more productive and engaged residents; and

Whereas: Public school teachers play an indispensable role in providing that education; and

Whereas: Attracting and retaining highly qualified, motivated teachers is essential in creating the best possible learning environment in the classroom: and

Whereas: Teacher compensation is a key element in recruiting and retaining the best teachers possible; and

Whereas: Forsyth County has the lowest local teacher compensation supplement among all of North Carolina’s major urban areas, which is also lower than the state average, contributing to the approximately 15% of teachers who leave our schools each year (500 teachers) as well as the school system’s difficulty in filling open positions with licensed teachers (40 openings as of Jan. 15); and

Whereas: The proposed ¼-cent increase of Forsyth County’s sales tax, appearing on the March 3 primary ballot, is dedicated for teacher compensation supplements and will result in approximately $13.5 million the first year; and

Whereas: Groceries, gasoline, prescription medication, rent as well as other essential items listed in the legislation are exempt from the ¼-cent and all sales taxes; and

Whereas: More than 40 other North Carolina counties have already passed a similar ¼-cent sales tax; and

Whereas: Passage of the ¼-cent sales tax will result in a 1-cent decrease in real estate and personal property taxes for all Forsyth County residents;

Now, therefore, be it resolved:

The (Town of Lewisville/Village of Clemmons) Council supports the proposed ¼-cent sales tax for teacher supplemental compensation and urges all residents to vote FOR our teachers on the March 3, 2020, ballot.

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