Schools need county’s support more than ever
Published 7:14 pm Friday, February 5, 2016
Superintendent Don Phipps from Beaufort County Schools and Dr. Barbara Tansey and Mark Nelson from Beaufort County Community College met with the county Board of Commissioners on Wednesday to discuss budget needs.
The overall theme: repairs, renovations and new facility construction.
The tension between the need for capital projects and the lack of money to do them is now more apparent than ever.
Take the public schools, for example. The school district is constantly confronted with problems of aging infrastructure and out-of-date equipment, not to mention the needed technological updates within the classroom.
Board of Education member Carolyn Walker once said some of the older schools appear as if toothpicks and duct tape hold them together.
At the community college, aging structures are also an issue, but so is the need for updated equipment.
BCCC is still in the process of negotiating a contract with the state for VoIP (Voice over IP), which enables voice communications via the Internet. As Nelson and Tansey told the commissioners, they are running out of copper wire to accommodate a regular phone line system.
That’s not to mention a less-than-functional alarm system, which in some cases has one alarm system for more than one building. If a fire breaks out, it’s possible that firefighters will have to use trial and error to locate the building where the fire is burning.
These are just a small handful of the needs of the county’s schools. It extends well beyond what could be covered in a short presentation to the Board of Commissioners.
The commissioners have been willing to offer support in the past, and in light of budget preparations for the new fiscal year approaching in July, this pattern needs to continue. The schools are an aspect where there should be no corners cut.
Whether it’s a third-grade classroom or a college course, the schools need the support of the county now more than ever. A better-educated population directly correlates to a better and more prosperous county.
In this case, the commissioners’ support is in everyone’s best interest.