This is a time of celebration and happiness for parents, family, and friends of our newest local high school graduates. From all indications, the Class of 2011 has done very well and many have been accepted to attend colleges in North Carolina and elsewhere. We should all be proud of their accomplishments. But we must also realize that every member of the Class of 2011 will not be attending a college or university. Some will be looking for gainful employment right here in Orange County. When they can’t find it, they will venture out elsewhere to find that elusive job.
Why should our high school educated children be our county’s largest export? We need jobs that will keep our children here and jobs that will allow those who obtain other degrees to come back home and work and live. That’s why it’s so important that we get busy with economic development. Like everything else, it costs money and there not a lot of it readily available right now.
To help fund economic development, we will have a quarter cent sales tax increase on the ballot in November. It failed by a narrow margin last time it was on the ballot, so now is the time to learn about the proposal and get folks behind it. Some of the money will also help with capital projects in the two school systems. Both of these endeavors are truly a case of we pay now or we will pay a lot more later, so we really should do this.
Do we really want to keep exporting our educated kids?