Greater Whiteville Chamber of Commerce Asks Legislators to Invest in Smart Start

Dear Representative Burr:

The purpose of this letter is to share with you the important economic impact the Smart Start program has in Columbus County and specifically here in Whiteville and to ask for your support in funding for the upcoming fiscal year.

You are probably aware that preliminary findings in a recent Duke University research study showed that, “third graders have higher standardized reading and math scores and lower special education placement rates in those counties that had received relatively more funding for Smart Start and More at Four when these children were younger. Smart Start has paid particular attention to ensuring that children in child care attend high quality programs.” It makes a difference when children start school prepared to learn. The rate of return on providing early education is well documented.

However here in Columbus County it goes even further. The Columbus County Partnership for Children (Smart Start) program works with 51 licensed childcare/early education programs to ensure that they are providing quality care at affordable prices so family members can work. The $1.1 million allocation for Columbus County also impacts our local economy directly. The CCPC is located in downtown Whiteville filling storefronts, attracting street traffic into the area via the Resource Center, and providing 5 direct jobs. CCPC is a professionally administered agency with the clear objective of helping the next generation become productive, responsible citizens by starting with high-quality early care and education.

We understand that you and your colleagues face unprecedented choices as you budget for the coming fiscal year, but ask that you give the value of this investment and its total economic impact careful consideration.


Henry Hawthorne
Greater Whiteville Chamber of Commerce and
The Board of Directors

Take Action!Tell senators your stories this week. Show them what the impact of such a significant cut will mean in your communities. Let them know that families put children first and our government needs to do the same. Without a priority for growing the next generation of productivity, North Carolina has a deficit strategy, not a growth strategy.

• Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore
(919) 733-5708 or (336) 623-5210,

• Senator Peter S. Brunstetter, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair
(919) 733-7850 or (336) 747-6604,

• Senator Neal Hunt, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair
(919) 733-5850 or (919) 781-3464,

• Senator Richard Stevens, Senate Appropriations Co-Chair
(919) 733-5653 or (919) 851-0228,

• Senator Stan Bingham, Senate HHS Appropriations Co-Chair
(919) 733-5665 or (336) 859-0999,

• Senator Louis Pate, Senate HHS Appropriations Co-Chair
(919) 733-5621 or (919) 658-3637,


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