Without Additional Funds, More Than A Road Will Bypass PE Public Schools

Published 3:24 pm Thursday, April 12, 2012

There is nobody in Prince Edward County who possesses more knowledge or a better understanding of what budget cuts will mean to the county's public school system than Teri Kidd. In her letter to the editor in today's edition (to the right), Ms. Kidd writes that the proposed cuts in the 2012-13 school budget “are the largest and the deepest I have experienced in my 30 years in Prince Edward County.”

Those words from this particular person should get our attention.

Ms. Kidd is retiring after her decades of public service as a teacher in Prince Edward County's public school system-and deeply informed and involved public school advocate-so she has nothing personally to gain in advocating a tax increase to replace school funding cut by the state. Yes, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly are the culprits.

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But does Prince Edward County stand by and watch?

If someone is drowning and you are the one standing on the shore, it really doesn't matter at that point who pushed them into the water without a life preserver. You jump in and save them. The state has passed more than the buck to localities when it comes to school funding this year. Classes in foreign languages, special education, early childhood and the arts are among the academic programs that could be affected, with the children of Prince Edward who need to take those classes affected most of all.

Sadly, programs that are cut can find it difficult to ever return to the curriculum.

And will it be easier or harder to recruit a CEO to bring his or her company and jobs to Prince Edward County if you tell them their children and their employees' children won't be able to take certain foreign language classes or the arts? And does it help build a quality workforce to cut those programs and special education and early childhood education programs? No, not at all.

An alternate Route 628 is being built to divert traffic and reduce the flow of vehicles through the Prince Edward County Public Schools Complex. While I editorialized in early January in support of the alternate route only because I believe it will enhance safety-and not because of any proposed development further down that road-what is going on in classrooms inside the schools is hugely more important than what is driving past those classrooms.

Without additional local funding, more than traffic will be bypassing Prince Edward County's Public Schools.

Tuesday night's public hearing (April 17) on the proposed County budget offers the chance to encourage the Board of Supervisors to stand taller than the General Assembly when it comes to funding for the education of Prince Edward County's children.

If Prince Edward County doesn't stand up tallest for its children, who else will?

The Board of Supervisors, and the people of Prince Edward County, need to stand up for their children first, last, and always.

If it doesn't happen in the public schools, nowhere else matters.