Two Johnston County residents have formed a new advocacy group, Citizen Advocates for Accountable Government of NC. Dale Lands of Johnston County, a lifetime area resident, got the idea after witnessing the events of the last election. He saw a need to hold local politicians accountable for their service to the voters, and together with John Saluppo they put the word out.
Within a few weeks over 100 people have joined their cause. “This group is our avenue to better governance for all,” Mr. Lands said.
The two, along with their membership, are already making their concerns known to the Johnston County Board of Education. They’ve emailed the Board along with Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy asking for an immediate return to in-person public Board of Education meetings, with a time for residents to speak.
The group is also demanding accountability for the CARES Act money the Johnston County Schools received, which totaled $8 million dollars in 2020, and $29.2 million in the latest round this month. The recent school board budget overruns, and unaccounted fund loss of millions of dollars, gives the group serious concerns that Central Office will not provide clear, easily accessible records to the public on where the large funds of cash are spent.
Mr. Saluppo explained, “Schools need to use the CARES money to safely provide our children an education for careers they can be proud of and stop wasteful spending.”
Dale Lands, a grandfather, cannot believe the dramatic downturn of the local public school system. “The Board of Education is our first undertaking because everything starts with what we teach our children and young adults. All of our future leaders are in the education system in some capacity, and we can make a difference immediately by focusing on this portion of our local government.”
John Saluppo has a daughter in Johnston County schools and has seen firsthand the change in the district. “We are holding the school board accountable because they are not. They believe as parents we don’t have a say. They are wrong.”
Citizen Advocates also expressed their concerns over the new Critical Race Theory of anti-racism reportedly being driven into our schools by Crystal Roberts, Johnston County Schools Chief of Equity, Information, and Student Services. “This board is instituting through the equity office teaching of counter culture readings and they want to erase the great, and yes and at times tragic history, of this wonderful country. We want to show support for our teachers whose hands are tied and are afraid to speak out. They have a voice and support,” Mr. Saluppo said.
When asked what the future of Citizen Advocates group will look like Mr. Saluppo said, “The future is simple we will hold every candidate elected accountable to their promises otherwise they will not have our support for re-election.”
Mr. Lands sees the future potential for a much larger network, “Our future plans are to expand this group with chapters throughout NC and continue to focus on local politics, each chapter to help each other in instances of need. Neighbors helping neighbors, to keep the system working for the people and run by the people.”