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Statesville City Hall

Economic Recovery in North Carolina Mainly Concentrated in Urban Areas

Rural Counties still lag behind

Despite gains in unemployment rates, North Carolina’s rural counties are still lagging behind their urban counterparts. Much of the economic recovery is based in counties with large urban cities. Meanwhile, rural counties have not returned to their pre-Great Recession states. Half of North Carolina’s counties have seen declines in population since 2010.

According to Jeff Michael, director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute:

The area’s small communities can boost their recoveries if they strengthen their supply, transportation and even educational linkages to Charlotte, Michael said. “Their success is going to be tied to those growing urban areas,” he added. During the region’s textile production era, he noted, the small communities were better connected to Charlotte and each other than they are now. The connection among growers, suppliers and manufacturers formed “incredible linkages within that industry,” Michael said.

Michael goes on to cite Asheville, North Carolina’s success in creating a complementary “cluster of services” as one of the ways industry-minded rural counties can maintain economic stability.

Charlotte Business Journal | Recovery bypassing Carolinas’ small, rural communities in favor of the urban centers

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter: Local Leaders Discuss Improving Town-Police Relations

Spurred to action by recent events in Ferguson, MO and New York, NY, as well as the “Black Lives Matter” movement, community leaders from Hertford and Bertie Counties gathered at the Hertford County Public Schools Central office in Winton, NC to discuss how to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in their community. Community leaders agreed that increasing positive interactions between the community and local law enforcement will be key to preventing potential tragedy.


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Draft Audit Report of Bertie County Reveals Improved Finances

A draft report of audit findings for Bertie County was presented at this month’s Bertie County Board of Commissioners. According to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, the 146-page report was positive, stating the “…increases in tax collection and a healthy fund balance, despite no tax increases for the past few years.” The report also mentions a decrease in the County’s total debt by $1.78 million, a decrease which has been attributed to the County’s repayment of debt principal. Officials note that the report illustrates Bertie County government’s continued commitment to fiscal stability.

The report is available for public viewing on the county’s website.

Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald | Bertie finances improve



Idaho Educators and DC Insiders Differ on Rural Ed Priorities

A recent report conducted by Whiteboard advisors and funded by Idaho’s J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation revealed a “significant disconnect” between rural superintendents and Washington “insiders” that could account for the lack of suitable attention paid to rural education issues.

Overall, however, we found significant disconnects between the Insiders (administration and Capitol Hill officials and key education leaders in Washington) and rural superintendents. When we asked both groups to rank the three biggest problems facing rural school districts, there was no overlap. Superintendents said their top issues were lack of “full funding for special education,” paperwork and compliance requirements, and lack of flexibility for spending federal dollars. Insiders said the top challenges facing rural superintendents were recruiting and retaining teachers and lack of school and classroom technology. Moreover, two of the top three challenges cited by Idaho superintendents were issues that Insiders put at the bottom of their list. This helps explain why policies designed for the communities dominating the political and education debate are often poorly suited for rural districts.

Idaho Statesman | Guest Opinion: Rural Idaho leaders need to make education demands clear to Washington