Consider schools as budget priority

Published 10:29 am Friday, March 30, 2018

We can sympathize — perhaps even empathize — that making decisions can be difficult when it comes to choosing what to include in a budget, especially for a locality. There are so many needs that demand immediate monetary satisfaction, never mind any capital improvements or dreams of special projects that could enhance the quality of life for residents.

There is one suggestion we offer which can help make the process easier, and that’s to accommodate a school system’s requests as much as possible.

As people are wont to say, “children are our future.” If that is truly so, then should not a city or county generously invest in providing a quality education for public school students?

This past Monday, Southampton County school superintendent Dr. Gwendolyn Shannon came before the supervisors stating that the board had calculated a $34.71M budget for the next fiscal year. The requested county’s share is $13.67M.

The district leader made a strong case for funding, citing the improvements shown in the school system through 100 percent accreditation, improvements in SOL scores and the launch of the computer coding in elementary schools.

If you’re thinking the amount is higher than before, you are correct by nearly $1.5M. If there’s a culprit in the equation, the finger should be pointed to the increase in health insurance rates, but that’s an issue for another editorial.

Meanwhile, we urge the supervisors to seriously consider and seek ways to fund the school budget.

That will be an investment in the county’s future — our children. It would also support Shannon’s remark that “a school system is only as good its community … and our community is excellent.”