How Siler City’s Hispanic community found homes for 28 displaced families

With additional reporting by Giancarlo Garcia Salazar. When a million-dollar company tried to push 28 families out
of their homes, a local community center gave them the fuel to push back
instead of sitting down. El Vínculo Hispano, a nonprofit in Siler City, facilitated negotiations between former residents of Johnson’s Mobile Home Park—a majority Hispanic community—and Mountaire Farms, a chicken processing plant that bought the land that the trailers occupied. Over 12 percent of Chatham County reports Hispanic origins, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The new plant, off of U.S. 64, is open and accepting
applications for both management and entry-level positions.

How Siler City Elementary helps Latino parents connect with their children

“Because I said so,” is a response that many people grew up hearing from their parents. Although the phrase frequents households nationwide, a Costa Rican psychologist informed parents at Siler City Elementary School why this answer is detrimental for children. SCE
hosted its fifth meeting for the Latino Parents School on March 5. SCE’s
Community Outreach Committee created the program in October 2018 to inform
Latino parents about the North Carolina education system. The school’s student
population is over 62 percent Latino, according to school records, and most of
the parents are immigrants.

Does Siler City Elementary need more ESL teachers?

Tucked away in the hills of rural North Carolina is Siler City Elementary, a dual-language school in which students spend half of their day learning in Spanish and the other half learning in English. And yet, the school only has seven English Second Language (ESL) teachers — educators that specialize in teaching English to students that are non-native English speakers. 
Out of 673 total students in the school, 418 are Latino, and 268 are ESL students. The ESL teacher-to-student ratio is 1-to-38. ESL Teacher Angelica Binkowsky instructs all fourth-grade students in the program. In addition, she works with multiple grade levels for SCE’s intervention program, which involves dividing classrooms into small groups in order to provide a personalized learning experience.

Chatham this week: Rising sales tax, EG-GILERO incentive, and rezoning requests

Notes for Chatham County’s Board of Commissioners meeting from February 18, 2019

Local control of school calendars The Board of Commissioners has joined with the Chatham County School Board to grant school districts control of the calendars as opposed to how it’s currently controlled by the state All commissioners supported the resolutions Article 46 Sales Tax It’s a ¼ increase in state sales tax (doesn’t apply to unprepared food or gasoline—prepared food means restaurant purchases are included) Advantages: revenue brought directly into Chatham County Applies to all eligible purchases in the county, so it would apply to visitors and online purchases Legal requirements: referendum—it would need to be added by the local and state boards of elections This wouldn’t be able to be on the ballot until 2020 (Nov. or May) Other rules: no restrictions or earmarks on the revenue—can be used for all allowable use by counties County can’t stipulate how the funds will be used on the ballot but they can create a resolution with how it’s intended to be used (this isn’t legally binding, meaning they could use it on other things not in the resolution) Implementation: the earliest effective date would be October 2020—this is dependent on quarterly schedule 42 counties in the state have approved it, including Durham, Harnett, Lee, Orange and Randolph counties (all neighboring counties have published resolutions) Neighboring county resolutions: education, school construction, community college capital, DPS debt service, training Citizen-initiated text amendment to change zoning ordinances Planning board actions: rezoning request Board denied the motion on the grounds of inconsistency Also made a motion to consider nonprofits and other places of assembly instead of just churches Incentive request and recommendation: EG-GILEROEG-GILERO is a medical device and manufacturing company based in Morrisville, NCThey purchased a building in Pittsboro but it’s been vacant for several years They’re proposing an investment of $3.9 million over 5 years that would create 60 new jobs in Chatham County Time: years 1-5 will be the construction phase; full employment will begin in year 5Recommended for a level 1 incentive based on Chatham’s incentive policy It’s estimated that the 60 employees would be employed by 2022 Rezoning of 5545 (about 51 acres) from industrial to residential Close to the Chatham/Wake line Most of the surrounding areas are residential with some being conditional use Rezoning of 12236 between Pittsboro and Siler City to conditional/business use zoning Applicants are owners of the cricket fields Part of the property is already a soccer field so they wouldn’t have to do total reconstruction Functional as an open play area for community members to meet No plan to use the buildings that will stay on the property No plans for parking lots, asphalt or gravel since they won’t expect a large number of visitors Plan to use portable toilets instead of a restroom facility Public comment: Linda Smith, residentOpposed to the aforementioned rezoning because the plans or the construction affect her home property Argued that the amount of people coming in and out for the games would affect the grass parking lot (which would turn into mud), disturbing the alpacas and interrupting her peaceful area Concerned about portable toilet maintenance and the smell Public comment: Marty Raynor, owner of the alpaca farms Not opposed to the fields but suggests an entrance on the backside that doesn’t come from US-64 because that wasn’t what the easement was intended for upon initial construction Commissioners’ Reports Karen Howard: ALC training—suggested that it be mandatory because the things she learned there are “critical to what we do” Diana Hales: Empty Bowls Fundraiser works to raise money for Chatham County’s hungry

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