BCS declines to donate to pool campaign

Published 7:50 pm Thursday, August 18, 2016

Beaufort County Schools has decided not to contribute to the Save the Pool campaign at this time.

At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, board members decided to decline Washington Finance Director Matt Rauschenbach’s request for $12,500 to go toward the campaign.

City officials are raising money to fund a new dehumidifier for the pool at the Moore Aquatics & Fitness Center — a cost initially estimated to be $300,000. If officials can raise half of that total, the City Council agreed to fund the other half, according to Rauschenbach.

Save the Pool campaign organizers have already held several fundraisers to raise money for the cause.

Rauschenbach originally approached the school board at the beginning of the summer asking for $25,000, but after the City obtained a new, much lower cost quote of about $145,000, Rauschenbach returned to the board in July to reduce the request to $12,500.

“I know it’s unusual, and I understand the tight budget that you’re under,” he told the board in July. “I’ve seen what the county has allocated to you guys, and I know it’s extremely tough.”

Rauschenbach said he thinks getting support from the school board, along with the community support already there, would encourage other groups to do the same.

“We certainly would appreciate it because, you know, we’re doing all we can do to raise it,” he said.

Dr. Don Phipps, BCS superintendent, said the decision to not allocate funds does not mean the school district does not support the pool.

BCS already pays a fee for its students to use the pool and cover the cost of its operation — a fee that may increase by thousands of dollars this year.

He said Beaufort County students and teams have a valuable resource in the pool, but the board has other education-related expenses to attend to first. The school district has already had to scale back its own expenses due to a tightening budget.

“There are a lot of projects that are left on the table that we’ll come back and revisit,” Phipps said. “Not that we don’t value the pool, and certainly our kids have used it and will continue to use it.”

The Board of Education will revisit the request at a later date.