Becoats: Tax referendum may be needed

October 19, 2011 9:24:10 AM PDT
Durham Superintendent Eric Becoats said Wednesday that a sales tax referendum might be the only thing that will prevent job cuts in the school system.

Durham Schools stand to see approximately $6 million in funding if a quarter-cent sales tax referendum is passed.

"These dollars would replace the one time funding we received from the federal government known as education jobs funding," Becoats said.

And with those funds already being exhausted this year, the superintendent said schools need the money to prevent major jobs cuts.

"If it does not pass we would really need to start looking at potentially laying off teachers and or school based personnel," he said.

While Becoats said he is hopeful for the referendum's success, he is also touting several accomplishments within Durham Schools that includes a partnership with Durham CAN, which stands for Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods.

Most recently at Riverside High School, a partnership with the Carolina Panthers led to $75,000 worth of donated weight room equipment.

"I think this is a key example of a partnership that Riverside and I want to give the credit to Riverside, because they are the ones who took it upon themselves to find ways to make improvements within their school," Becoats said.

The school district is still working on improvements of its own, including implementing the district's strategic plan, which is scheduled to be completed by 2014.

Something else Becoats highlighted, was the continuation of the "Principal for a Day" program coming up on Friday. The goal of this is to give local business leaders and community partners a chance to see what it's really like running schools.

In the meantime, voters will head to the polls to vote on the sales tax referendum on Nov. 8.

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