Michael Oehler | Indy Week

Michael Oehler 
Member since May 20, 2010



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Re: “In Durham Public Schools, budget cuts chip away at the classroom


K-3 class size will remain the same at Powe as the article stated. Please contact Ms. Bishop or myself if you have any concerns. Ms. Bishop is doing all she can to ease the pain... have you written your commissioners?


the district's(and state) policy is clear-- it is basically a last in, first out policy when it comes to layoffs. Obviously, this is not ideal; however, it speaks to the larger problem of principals and administrators doing a poor job of evaluating, motivating, and providing a stimulating and nurturing environment for their workers. These "bad" teachers didn't just arrive, and their is not collect bargaining for NC teachers. Nothing keeps a "bad" teacher in an NC classroom but a "bad" administrator.


Thanks for focusing on some of the human element of the layoffs, but I think you miss the bigger issue in school funding-- this is not a one time event, but it began years ago, NC ranks 11 out of 12 in the Southeast in state funding, and it happened in last year's budget, relying on Federal dollars to plug a hole in funding, and it will be felt worse next year.

The only solution is higher taxes somewhere. Do we want to increase Federal taxes and face the toxic Federal climate to get our share of the money? Do we want to increase State taxes and fight the conservatives and muckrakers inside the beltline, or do we want to have a modest tax increase on Durham's property holders, the most progressive tax we have available in this bluest of blue dots in the Old North State?

For me, I prefer to Eat Local, Buy Local, and Tax Local-- less waste, more accountablitity, and more sunshine on where and how our money is used.

The real story is WHY AREN'T ARE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS LISTENING TO US! They are literally passing the blame and the buck to the state. If the State is not going to fund our schools, we must rely on our local elected officials. It is literally their largest fiduciary responsiblity. The Commissioners have harrassed the School Board about their budget, but have you tried to closely examine the County website and their budget? What a mess? Has the Police Chief or Fire Chief taken a pay cut? What about the other highly paid County administrators? What about Ruffin himself and his staff?

Samiha, the real story is why the Commissioners are unwilling to even mention a tax increase. Where do the wealthiest and most politically connected people in Durham send their kids to school? Please don't let the Commissioners mythmaking powers allow you to believe that a tax increase would force Granny out of her home. This is bunk. How many Grannies on fixed incomes do you know in Durham that live in Hope Valley or Forest Hills or Treyburn? The Commissioners are spreading bad economic myths. As US citizens, our collective tax burden has never been lower... see Bush II's tax cuts and the year's of Reagan's voodoo economics. The fact is, if landlords could charge more for rent right now they would. Certainly, rent is not insensitive to a tax increase, but look around at who owns most of Durham's rental properties. The Indy has exposed these people before. They are raking in money. A 5 cent tax increase would mean an increase of only 50 dollars on a $100,000 dollar valued house. Look up some of the rental home values of some of the slum lords properties in East Durham where most of these people the CC are suddenly so concerned about live? This charade of a tax increase hurting the elderly is nothing but a lie.

Samiha, thanks for telling the story of teacher's pain, but next time, don't report the the County Commissioners myths without also reporting the facts. I expect more from the Independent.

Michael Oehler

Posted by Michael Oehler on 05/20/2010 at 10:15 AM

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