There was a sad irony in the Dec. 3 issue of the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

One of the front page stories was about Wilkes County slipping into an N.C. Department of Commerce category identifying it as one the most economically distressed counties in the state, while another story about Larry and Diane Stone being parade marshals contained disturbing information regarding the state of education in Wilkes.

The unfortunate connection is that a good education is the basis for all opportunity. And with elected county leaders refusing to recognize the needs of Wilkes schools, it will be a struggle for the county to escape this dubious status. Nearly every neighboring county is in a higher or better tier than Wilkes.

That should be embarrassing to county leaders and very concerning to all citizens.

Wilkes County is blessed to have generous and benevolent citizens like the Stones and others who see the needs of the children in the county and unselfishly work and contribute to make the situation better. Hopefully, county leaders will wake up and do the right thing in regards to school funding and a tax strategy to support the same.

DAVID STEED

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

(Former 15-year resident of Wilkes County.)

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