Last night, the 2014 school bond passed with 64% of the votes. While I expected the positive results, I was stunned by the overwhelming level of support. I can only say THANK YOU to the citizens of New Hanover County. The margin of victory affirms my belief that most people are pleased with the direction of the district and support what we are doing for our students.
This win did not happen in a vacuum. There are a lot of people to thank and acknowledge. First up is the Bond Committee that was co-chaired by Ann David and Dianne Avery. They provided exceptional leadership to a dedicated group of community-minded citizens (The 2014 Bond Committee is listed below). This group of volunteers spoke to over 2000 people at over 40 different events. They met with groups of 5 to 200 and shared their passion for public education.
I also want to thank the employees of New Hanover County Schools. They supported the bond by helping to spread the message about our schools and the need for the bond. Educating 26,000 students is a tough job and over 3,000 district employees were instrumental in letting others know about our needs. The school bond coordinators stepped up at each school and were instrumental in sharing information about the bond. The NHCS Public Relations Department, lead by Chief Communications Officer Valita Quattlebaum, kept a steady stream of information flowing about the needs of our schools and the importance of the bond. The district’s Facility Planning Department, lead by Eddie Anderson, did a lot of behind-the-scenes work putting together the numbers and facts that were used in the bond informational materials.
There were a number of towns and community organizations that endorsed the bond, which I would like to recognize. These include the town of Kure Beach, the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS®, the League of Women Voters, the New Hanover County Council of PTAs and the Wrightsville Beach School Foundation.
The New Hanover County Board of Education and the Board of County Commissioners also deserve thanks; they recognized the need for a bond and were willing to ask for the largest school bond in New Hanover County history. The boards knew there was a potential tax impact but stepped up to support the need. The end result was one of the largest margins of victory on any school bond in the district’s history.
With the approval, the work on implementing the bond now begins; we have to finalize a construction schedule and get moving on the building projects. I look forward to this process and will keep you posted on the progress. Within just a few short years, we will be cutting the ribbons on new schools. Thank you, New Hanover County, for supporting the district and most of all, supporting our students.
Bond Committee Members
Dianne Avery, Co-chair
Ann David, Co-chair
Dr. Larry Mabe
Dr. Sandra Sheridan