Local Politics

Schools, support for teachers don't make grade for some in Yadkinville

School spending has been as much a lesson in politics this year as in finance and education.

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YADKINVILLE, N.C. — School spending has been as much a lesson in politics this year as in finance and education.

Republicans and Democrats have pilloried each other on the floor of the General Assembly and on the campaign trail over who supports teachers and students more.

Michael Groce, who teaches English at Yadkin Early College High School in Yadkinville, said he hopes voters will have education on their minds when they head to the polls in the coming weeks.

"I hope that voters will take a look at those people who truly reflect and represent the investment we need to make in our kids," Groce said.

Laura Pack, a Yadkinville native and a 13-year teacher, said she thinks seasoned teachers, like herself, deserve more money.

"I feel like I have more to bring to the table than a first-year or second-year teacher," Pack said. "So many people have a negative view of teaching in general and how the public views teachers."

Groce, who used to work in marketing, said the size of his paycheck isn't as important as support for his students.

"For me, as a teacher, it's not important what they pay me. This is my job," he said.

He wouldn't say who he's backing in the U.S. Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis have traded charges on education spending.

"I have determined that I've got to choose the candidate who would not be willing to make drastic cuts in education at the expense of our kids," he said.

Along Main Street in Yadkinville, no one will say that schools have all of the money they need. But they say schools can't be given a blank check, either.

"School systems should account for what they're spending and make sure it goes for what it's needed for," 73-year-old Clate Wingler said.

Trupti Patel, who owns Ace's Restaurant in town, has two children in high school, but they go to class in neighboring Iredell County because she doesn't like the quality of schools in Yadkin County.

"Education is not very good in North Carolina. I can say that," Patel said.

"The teachers are too much into computer programs right now," she said, adding that not enough emphasis is placed on basic skills.


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