Earlier this week I attended the NC School Board Association annual convention in Greensboro as a vendor. Gov. Perdue was the keynote speaker at lunch on Monday.
Not being a fan of the rubber chicken served at the Koury Convention Center, and really not particularly interested in what she had to say, I passed on the banquet. But I was attuned to the reactions of various school board members from across the state as they did the "trade show shuffle" past our booth.
Most are upset with the Governor's absconding with construction funding from lottery proceeds last fall, and otherwise expressed general dissatisfaction with her fiscal moves. Many suggested that the Governor, members of the council of state, and other high executives take 20% pay cuts as a symbolic gesture to sympathize with teachers being laid off and other cuts at the classroom level. Others are also particularly upset with the slow pace of delivering stimulus money to school systems for facilities improvements, energy efficiency, and other projects that they believe are essential.
One other observation from the conference not specifically related to the Governor's visit, but along the same theme. In September I attended (again as a vendor) the North Carolina Public School Maintenance Association annual conference at Atlantic Beach. This is a regular stop on my marketing circuit each year. Attendance at NCPSMA was down, as many school boards cut back or completely eliminated any travel money for employees for any purpose, no matter how noble. On the other hand, attendance at the School Board Association meeting was actually UP from last year.