County school board to support new Action Center
Board members vote to send $4,000 contribution
by Lauren Williams Staff Writer
The Sampson County Board of Education voted to financially support the new N.C. School Boards Action Center (NCSBAC) during its regular meeting earlier this week at Salemburg Elementary School.
Back in April, the N.C. School Boards Association’s (NCSBA) Board of Directors authorized the creation of the Action Center, “a new 501 (c) (4) organization designed to strengthen local school board advocacy efforts,” stated Evelyn Bulluck, NCSBA president and Tim Morgan, NCSBAC president in a memo sent out to school boards across the state in early August.
The need for, and creation of, the new action center came about due to the limited funding that the NCSBA, as a 501 (c) (3) orgainzation, is allowed to put into advocacy efforts, explained Bulluck and Morgan, noting that the new action center will not be “subject to the same restrictions on advocacy and grassroots activity” and “will allow us to generate additional resources for expanded advocacy efforts,” adding that “the National School Boards Association created such an organization last year for the same reasons.”
Those efforts will not include endorsing any political candidates or starting a political action committee, the two presidents stressed in the memo. Instead the action center will “provide the type of vehicle we need to raise additional revenue to engage in social networking efforts, expand our messaging, interact with the media, and advocate for the NCSBA legislative agenda.”
In the same memo, Bulluck and Morgan invited all of state’s local school boards to participate in the new center by offering financial support, requesting that each school system contribute a pre-determined amount of money based on the system’s average daily membership.
Based on Sampson’s ADM, it was suggested that a $4,000 contribution be made from the county system.
Supporting the action center with a monetary donation “allows for more lobbyists to be employed to help school systems,” explained board chairman Telfair Simpson Monday night.
Board member Glenn Tart questioned if the $4,000 contribution would be a recurring cost for the school system and asked if the system could stop making such contributions at any time.
Interim superintendent Mike Warren replied that the NCSBA would like for contributions to be recurring but added that he felt sure the school system could stop the contributions at any time if members wished to do so in the future.
Fellow board member G.H. Wilson noted that while some may not consider education issues “as big as the state budget,” he believed that local school boards still need to have strong representation before lawmakers.
“If we allow others (other issues) to come before it’s only going to get worse,” he said, mentioning that the norm for the system is having only one lobbyist, “so it’s probably a good idea.”
Wilson followed with a motion to approve the $4,000 contribution to the NCSBAC for the 2013-2014 school year. Board vice chairwoman Faye Gay offered the needed second.
Pointing out that “only 45 school systems in the state have signed up” to support the action center, Tart still expressed concern over the fact that “all school systems didn’t jump on it.”
“I just feel like it’s a lot of money,” he said. “I don’t know that we’re going to get that much out of it.”
Following the discussion, board members voted five to seven to approve the contribution with Tart and Dewain Sinclair voting against.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.
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