Published On: Tue, Oct 16th, 2018

Swain Superintendent asks tribal members to support tax for schools

 

By JOSEPH MARTIN

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

Swain County Superintendent Mark Sale asked tribal members residing in Swain County to support a measure that would give the school more funding to update buildings and provide more needs at the schools. Sale asked for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ support at the Annual Council session on Monday, Oct. 15 for a proposed ¼ cent sales tax added to support the county’s schools. The referendum will be held at the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Swain County schools currently have 478 EBCI tribal members as students, 21 percent of the schools’ total enrollment. “I am not here today to ask for funding. I am certain you hear quite a lot of that already,” Sale said. “I would like to show you how we are helping ourselves.”

Sale said had the referendum passed in 2016, it would’ve generated more than $364,000 in fiscal year 2017. The schools could have begun site preparations to reroute traffic flow, improving safety at the high school. Doing so will allow the schools to separate one side of the campus for the public and protect the back portion for buses and pedestrians. “This is also a critical component of the safety plans that have driven the design of the high school renovations that have recently been supported with a $4.7 million-grant from the state superintendent.”

While Sale said the grant could make for questions about their needs, he outlined some projects such as redesigns for the front entrance creating a one-point entry way for safety. That would include a buzz-in door. It includes outfitting new classrooms for safety, and new structures. “By removing some of the financial stress placed on our budget from equipment replacement and building maintenance, the ¼ cent funding will allow us to redirect support into personnel for instruction.”

Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed, a Swain County resident, urged tribal members in Swain County to vote in favor of the proposal. “Normally, I’m not a proponent of a tax increase. An investment in education is an investment in our future as well.”

Sale said, “My one request is that you take what you have learned and share it with your families and neighbors.  I hope I have shown how important this referendum is to our children.”

Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell said, “I just encourage all enrolled members to get out and vote.”

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