Legislative Priorities
  • Legislative Priorities
    Gaston County Board of Education
    February 28, 2024

    The Gaston County Board of Education respectfully presents the following information to Gaston County’s delegation in the North Carolina General Assembly as the current “Legislative Priorities” for ϲ̳.  The information aligns with the school system’s four priority areas.

    PRIORITY: College and Career Ready
    “Every student will graduate prepared for college, the workforce, and other life-enhancing opportunities.”  

    The Board of Education believes it is important for our state delegation to:

    • Increase state funding so the school system can enhance its college and career readiness programs in such areas as Career and Technical Education, Career and College Promise, Advanced Placement (AP), STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, and Cooperative Innovative High Schools/Early Colleges
    • Allocate more state funding to provide necessary support for students with special needs (exceptional children) and students who are second language/multilingual learners as these are growing student populations in our school system
    • Allow the school system to establish additional course requirements for high school graduation based on the college and career readiness needs in our local community
    • Focus more attention on and provide more funding to expand pre-kindergarten, tutoring, afterschool, and summer enrichment programs 

    PRIORITY:  Qualified Workforce
    “Every employee is qualified and committed to the education of all children.”  

    The Board of Education believes it is important for our state delegation to:

    • Develop a fair, robust, and competitive compensation plan for certified personnel, including classroom teachers, to make K-12 public education a more attractive profession – this includes salary and supplemental pay increases, master’s degree pay, and bonus incentives for performance, years of service, and teaching in low-performing schools
    • Increase pay for classified personnel (teacher assistants, bus drivers, nutrition staff, maintenance personnel, secretarial, etc.) to ensure stability in school district operations and make the classified positions attractive in a competitive work environment
    • Support programs, including professional development, that aid in the recruitment and retention of both certified and classified employees
    • Create a plan that allows retired teachers and other retired personnel to “return to work” without limitations in hard-to-staff schools     

    PRIORITY: Healthy, Safe, and Responsible Schools
    “Every student has the opportunity to learn in a safe school environment.”  

    The Board of Education believes it is important for our state delegation to:

    • Support and fund initiatives related to school safety and security, including programs that are designed to address the mental health needs of students
    • Continue and increase the state grant funds to school systems for school safety
    • Provide funds to ensure our ability to employ a nurse in each of our 56 schools as well as more counselors, clinicians, psychologists, social workers, etc. to help meet the physical, emotional, and mental health needs of students
    • Work with North Carolina’s congressional delegation to approve federal funding for free breakfast and lunch meals for all students

    PRIORITY: Innovation
    “Every employee uses innovative practices to serve all students, parents, and other stakeholders.”  

    The Board of Education believes it is important for our state delegation to:

    • Urge North Carolina’s congressional delegation to approve new federal funding for public schools that will “fill the void” created by the expiration of COVID-19 ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds
    • Allocate funds for school districts to replace and enhance classroom technology for student and teacher use – this is necessary as the presence of modern technology in educational settings becomes increasingly important 
    • Support the expansion of broadband internet access in low-income and rural areas to ensure that all students are able to learn digitally