Get the facts and be heard

Published 5:04 pm Friday, June 14, 2019

For anyone who cares about the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center or S.W. Snowden Elementary School, go ahead and mark these dates on your calendar for next week — 6 p.m. on Tuesday at S.W. Snowden and 6 p.m. Thursday at Ed Tech.

These are the times when school system leaders will host community meetings to talk about two controversial proposals — moving the school system’s alternative learning program from the old P.S. Jones High School to Washington High School, and moving middle school students from S.W. Snowden to Southside High School to make a junior high school model.

The forums are set against a backdrop of financial shortfalls and a study that offered recommendations for closing schools based on 10-year enrollment projections. These two factors, in the past two months, have created a sense of uncertainty and even fear that community schools may be closed and that jobs will be lost.

When it comes to changes impacting students and schools, emotions run high and understandably so. Every parent wants nothing but the best for their child, and we as a community want kids to have every opportunity to succeed. Change can be frightening, especially when it goes against tradition.

But like it or not, change comes as it does, and decision makers are dealt the task of dealing with that change. Thirty years ago, Belhaven, Bath, Aurora and Chocowinity all had their own high schools. That changed with the creation of Northside and Southside high schools.

The changes on the table right now at Beaufort County Schools will impact people — students, faculty and communities as a whole. Of that, there is no question. There are hard decisions ahead for the Beaufort County Board of Education.

These forums will help make sure that the public has the best possible information on these proposals and that their voices are heard in these decisions. They’re a chance to cut through emotion and deal with facts. Take the chance to get those facts and have your voice heard.

As we look at changes that will affect the community, let’s be sure that we have a good understanding of what’s on the table, let the facts speak for themselves and help guide the coming change in a way that’s to the benefit of Beaufort County’s children.