In 2010, the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® (CTAR) in South Carolina was faced with a difficult decision. Should they support tax increases to fund infrastructure improvements to local schools? And which of two proposals should they support? The first called for a one-cent sales tax over six years. The second--approved by the school district--called for an increase in property taxes. Before taking a position, CTAR decided to find out more about public sentiment on the issue.
The Washoe County School District, which serves Reno/Sparks and the surrounding area in Nevada, faces some tough challenges--including the threat of budget cuts during the 2011 legislative session and low graduation rates and proficiency levels in K-12 schools. The district has a new superintendent, Dr. Heath E. Morrison, with a bold strategy for reforming the schools, and community leaders want to get behind him.
In 2010, the public education committee of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®--which has a long history of supporting area schools--established a grant program to fund special projects at area public elementary, middle, and high schools and invited local student organizations to take the initiative and apply. In the program’s first year, the committee selected three winning proposals from more than 20 applications. Students at the Caesar Chavez Elementary School in inner-city Dallas proposed the creation of a powerhouse of a chess club.
There’s a national movement afoot to get more kids to walk and bike to school--and the momentum just keeps building. The reasons are clear. In 2009, only 13 percent of children ages five to fourteen walked or biked to school--compared to 48 percent in 1969. Studies have shown that even kids who live within a mile of their schools aren’t walking in significant numbers. But that’s starting to change. International Walk to School Day has become a major national event attracting millions of participants.
For many teachers, the cost of owning a home or even renting an apartment near the schools where they work is nearly impossible because of the mismatch between teacher salaries and the high cost of housing. It’s a problem that makes it difficult for some communities to attract and retain teachers.
It all started when a school principal invited a few representatives of the Lexington-Bluegrass Association of REALTORS® to tour a single local elementary school. “After the tour, we were trying to think of a way to say thank you,” says Melissa Poynter, then chairman of the association’s professional standards committee. “Someone suggested we donate a book to the library.