It’s a lucky thingPublished 7:53pm Saturday, February 8, 2014
Over the past little while, it seems as though everyone has been touched by budget cuts at the state level. While legislators in Raleigh are attempting to balance a budget that’s been out of whack for quite a while, some recipients have been hit harder than others.
Schools come to mind. North Carolina’s public school system has taken some direct blows in the past year. Compared to an inflation-adjusted 2008 budget, the public education budget for 2014 is $500 million less. Another $10 million will be siphoned out of public school funds to prop up a “pilot” school voucher program. A growing school population is at no point addressed financially. Essentially, the phrase “do more with less” has become the familiar, yet feeble, rally cry.
But there are many teachers and administrators in our school system who are doing more with less. They are seeking out ways to find more because more money equals more opportunities for students. There are those operating programs that augment what’s being taught in the classroom, offering help with schoolwork where no help may otherwise be found.
Our teachers apply for grants to expand educational opportunities their students may not have otherwise had. Sometimes that money is used to stock classrooms. The Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort County offers tutoring to the children in its care. The Police Activities League has launched a program for area children that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Beaufort County Arts Council uses funds to put more arts and performances in the schools. The Beaufort County Concert Association provides student outreach programs with the performers they bring to town.
Those organizations named are just a drop in the bucket of the number of sources that continuously contribute to the educational opportunities for all students in Beaufort County.
The N.C. General Assembly only sees the numbers. But around here, the numbers don’t measure up to the faces of schoolchildren. It’s a lucky thing we have so many people, and organizations, in Beaufort County who are willing to step in and find answers, and funding, our state refuses to give.