WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Local and state leaders met for breakfast this morning and to discuss business of education.
The New Hanover County School Board held a breakfast meeting to inform leaders about the importance of considering education as a top priority, especially when it comes to planning the 2012 budget.
"We have to identify that there is low morale. That teachers need to be lifted up. That funding needs to be increased for schools, not cut, in order for us to do the best things for our students because that's what every teacher wants to do. Why else would you go into the profession?," New Hanover County Teacher of the Year Rachael Moser said.
Moser says she thinks it's important that leaders know the importance of starting from the ground up to make improvements to the community as a whole.
"We either invest in the children now and we give money to the school system and to the teachers so that they can provide that quality education, or we see those things that we don't want to see go up, go up. We see crime go up. We see an achievement gap go up. We pay now or pay later," Moser said.
State and local leaders say money is tight, but they are doing everything they can to stretch funding. State Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) says if we can fix education, other problems may also be solved.
"Education is where it all starts," Sen. Goolsby said. "Nobody's going to move companies to North Carolina, create jobs, do what needs to be done if we don't have a workforce that can think. That can work. That can produce."
Leaders agree that the most important thing schools across the state can do is speak up and tell them exactly what they need.
"I think it's very important, especially with the upcoming budget talks that are going to begin shortly, that the commissioners have a full grasp of where the schools are now, what the schools want, and what the school's needs are," New Hanover County Commissioner Chair Ted Davis said.
The state legislature will begin discussing the 2012 budget in May.
New Hanover County officials hope the breakfast was informative for the leaders when it comes to making decisions.