Exercising foresight

Published 5:32 pm Monday, March 26, 2018

As the old adage goes, a little planning goes a long way.
This is especially true when it comes to planning for the future facility needs of a school system. On Friday, the Beaufort County Board of Education and the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners held a joint meeting specifically toward that purpose.
Hearing a presentation from N.C. State’s Operations Research and Education Laboratory, the two boards considered retaining the group to perform a study on student enrollment, facilities, school assignments, land use and transportation at Beaufort County Schools that could provide projections for the next 10 years.
One of the group’s major selling points for this $20,000 study is that it would provide both boards with concrete data for looking at BCS facility needs over the course of the next decade.
The presenters stated that such a study may also help depoliticize the issue of school capital needs, as well as calm emotions that tend to run high when the needs of children are concerned.
When county commissioners and school board members meet in boardrooms throughout North Carolina, the results are not always so cordial.
Ugly disputes over funding can divide communities, pitting board against board in situations that are often decided in a courtroom. The result of such litigation is wasted time, wasted taxpayer dollars and hard feelings.

The study that the OREd is offering to perform might one day prevent Beaufort County’s elected officials from facing off in a courtroom, as has happened before. Surely this fact, along with the concrete data the study will yield, is worth $20,000 from a pair of multi-million dollar annual budgets.
The BOC and BOE are to be commended for considering steps that might help craft good public policy in the years to come. As both boards take up the issue at their respective meetings in April, may they continue finding ways to work together for the good of Beaufort County’s children.