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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Etheridge appears to have been a smidge off on the actual dollar figure, but the essence of his comment about his grandchild’s public school during last night’s Democratic gubernatorial debate was on the money and goes right to the heart of the single most important issue facing our state: It is simply ridiculous that public school PTA’s and other support groups must raise private donations to fund core services at our public schools.

At Etheridge’s grandchild’s school — Root Elementary, which is located in an affluent Raleigh neighborhood — parents have been encouraged to contribute a specified amount to help the school independently underwrite the cost of another staff person. And, as anyone with children in the North Carolina public schools who’s ever attended a PTA meeting knows, Root’s practice is not an exceptional situation; it is, in fact extremely common. It was the practice at my children’s Raleigh elementary school.

This, of course, is a absurd and unjust situation. Like roads and police departments and other essential public structures, Read More