Down Home Alamance and Public Schools Strong turned out to demand that the County take action to fix schools in massive disrepair.


Our Kids Are in Need, Fund Schools to Succeed

“It’s their responsibility, not ours,” was the refrain of a number of County Commissioners at their June 3rd Budget Hearing, where Down Home Alamance and Public Schools Strong turned out to demand that the County take action to fix schools in massive disrepair. Last August, mold was found in 32 of 36 Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS) schools, many buildings had significant leaks, and as a result, schools have been delayed and canceled over the course of the 2023-2024 school year, which created massive challenges for working parents. 

The subsequent mold is hazardous for teachers and students alike, but all the more so for children with asthma and compromised immune systems. Decades of neglect and underfunding at both the county and state level have pushed the deterioration of our schools’ buildings to this crisis point. In the last 20 years, no other county in North Carolina had to delay school because of infrastructure problems. Why is this? Alamance ranks 45th out of 100 counties in local appropriations as a percentage of revenue per student. 

Enter Down Home North Carolina

Down Home Alamance elected to focus our 2024 efforts to ensure that ABSS has the funding to repair schools, to end school disruptions, to remove threats to student and teacher health, and give our students a chance to succeed. 

But first, it seems, we have to push the county past a culture of finger-pointing. 

At the June 3rd meeting, the Alamance County Commission claimed that they’ve funded all requests from ABSS AND that they’re not responsible for the funds needed to update the school infrastructure. How can it be both ways? 

County Commissioner Chair Paisley and his cohort have a list of talking points to deny responsibility, and they reject the level of accountability Alamance County residents are looking for in their leadership. But the truth of the matter is that County Commissioners do, in fact, have the power to fix our schools and should be held accountable.

We’ve demanded that the Alamance County Commission:

  1. Not to leave money on the table, and take advantage of free funding opportunities, starting with the federal Renew America’s Schools Prize.
  2. Commit to funding a fully comprehensive building study to identify a plan to fix our buildings. 
  3. Make a generational investment into our school by committing to a school bond in 2025

We need leadership, not more finger-pointing. What will the County Commissioners do to be collaborative and remove bureaucratic roadblocks to make our schools safe? 

The bigger picture

For generations, we have seen those in power restrict access to high-quality education from working folks and communities of color to keep us divided and unable to advance. 

The local school system is almost every county’s first or second largest employer. Our public schools remain one of the last places that keep our communities anchored across race and class. Our members believe that an honest, accurate, and fully funded education system is the only way to build a world and an economy that works for everyone. 

Our education system should be the number one priority for our lawmakers when they create their budgets. We need to invest in our children’s education, provide universal pre-K, raise teacher pay to attract the best educators to our state, refurbish old buildings, and construct new school infrastructure.

A call-to-action

We are going to keep showing up, keep applying pressure to the commissioners in the way of still vocalizing our ultimate wants and needs as residents of the county. BE THORNS IN THEIR SIDES. Keep letting our concerns be known. So they are unable to say no!

Our next steps should be to continue attending ALL scheduled meetings even after next week’s budget vote on June 17. These elected officials know us by name — let’s show them how committed DHNC members are to this issue. News can be obtained through chapter meetings & scheduled events. 

We need all of Alamance County to stay involved and engaged. You can sign up for upcoming events here, and sign up to stay up-to-date on news here.