Investing in the future

Shelby County Schools Assistant Superintendent of Operations Tom Ferguson and Middle School Coordinator Dr. Lewis Brooks after speaking at a PHS faculty meeting. Both men are longtime Pelham residents, and are encouraging residents to vote in favor of extending the county’s current 30 mills of property tax. (Special/Connie Nolen)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

School teachers don’t think about money very often-unless we run out of it. However, teachers do know about investing. We believe in investing in education, because we have hundreds of daily reminders of the treasure that investment yields.

My treasures walk through my classroom door, reach out to me through cyberspace and surprise me with Christmas cards. Three of my treasures share my last name. In addition to my own children, I have three nieces and three nephews attending Shelby County Schools. I’m invested as a teacher, an employee, a parent, an aunt and a graduate. As a graduate of this system, I am more than invested, I’m indebted. I wouldn’t be teaching or writing today if Shelby County had not been willing to invest in me.

At a recent PHS faculty meeting, Shelby County’s Assistant Superintendent of Operations Tom Ferguson and Middle School Coordinator Lewis Brooks spoke about the upcoming Feb. 8 election to renew the existing ad-valorem taxes that help fund our children’s education.

“This is the most important decision we will make for our children in the next 30 years,” Ferguson said. “How can we manage with less when we continue to grow in enrollment?

We are blessed with students who want to learn, and we must renew these taxes.”

Voting yes is simply voting for funding to continue at the same rate. Voting yes will not increase taxes. As assistant superintendent of operations, Ferguson is daily reminded of the high cost of education; however, he’s also blessed with daily reminders of the benefit of that investment. Ferguson’s two children graduated from Shelby County Schools.

Brooks spoke to us about the benefits of voting yes in order to provide uninterrupted funding for our schools. Brooks has two sons attending Pelham High School.

When we vote for continued funding for our schools, we cast a vote of confidence for our students. PHS Senior Casey Nichols said, “To eliminate funding is to eliminate any motivation for students to strive for their best.”

Austin Hancock, another PHS senior said, “Education is our first defense against the many ailments our society suffers from. If you deprive the schools what small monetary funding we receive, you cripple us.”

Voting yes continues our funding and voting yes empowers our children. Will you please join me on Tuesday, Feb. 8 and vote yes for our schools and yes for our children?

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at