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Letter to the Editor: Support our schools

Posted: October 30, 2012 - 3:24pm

Dear Editor,

It is not often that our actions can have a positive impact on future generations. Especially when there is so much bad news surrounding our national economy, it is hard to think about anything other than how we are going to make it from day to day. However, as residents of Aiken County, we are blessed to live in such a great region. We enjoy the benefits of a solid local economy, a low cost of living, terrific weather, super people and the greatest communities. We have stable and healthy communities because of the sacrifices of generations before us. If we want to keep Aiken County great, we must recognize that additional sacrifice is required of us. Otherwise, what we enjoy could easily slip away.

Throughout history, Aiken County schools have been a vital part of our communities. Our education system has played a significant role in the development of our young people as productive citizens as well as successful leaders in our cities, state and nation. To keep our students competitive in the future, our schools must keep pace. In particular, our school infrastructure must become a competitive advantage for our students if we want to ensure the growth of our economy and maintain the quality of life we enjoy.

The North Augusta High School (NAHS) School Improvement Council (SIC) believes in NAHS, its faculty and its students. We are a dedicated group of students, parents, community leaders and faculty who are advocates of NAHS and public education. Our objective is to identify and track the progress of NAHS improvement initiatives. We are committed to doing all we reasonably can to help NAHS prepare for future generations.

NAHS is preparing for phase one of a long range plan capital improvement plan to replace its aging facilities. This long range plan includes eight phases that are currently expected to take forty years to complete based on present infrastructure funding levels. The SIC believes steps must be taken to accelerate this schedule in order to address the growing needs of NAHS and our community. To bring attention to the infrastructure needs, the SIC recently invited state, county and local elected officials to visit NAHS. Tours were given by students in the National Honor Society and lunch was prepared by the culinary arts students. We are grateful for the time and investment of elected officials who seek to understand the needs of students in our public schools. This event provided the opportunity to discuss with them how the benefits of a one-cent sales tax could accelerate our capital improvement plans. This issue, if allowed to come before the voters of Aiken County and if approved by the voters of Aiken County, could serve to accelerate capital improvements not only NAHS, but also at schools throughout the district. While this will require our residents to sacrifice in the near term, better preparing our students to become contributing members and leaders of our communities is vital if we are to sustain and improve the overall quality of life we enjoy in Aiken County.

We want to publically thank those who attended this event: Representative Bill Hixon, Representative Tom Young, Senator Shane Massey, Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young along with County Council members Chuck Smith and Sandy Haskell, North Augusta City Council members Jimmy Adams and Pat Carpenter, as well as Aiken County School Board members Ray Fleming and Keith Liner. We also appreciate Todd Glover, our NA City Administrator, and Will Williams of the Aiken/Edgefield Development Board for their presence at the event.

The SIC welcomes and encourages the suggestions and involvement of anyone interested in the betterment of our schools. The SIC believes that investing in NAHS is one of the best investments we can make for our community and the young people of North Augusta.

Will Barnes

Chair, NAHS SIC

 

Freddie Grimm

Vice-Chair, NAHS SIC

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