Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beaufort parents don't want local schools closed

Four Beaufort parents told their school board last night that closing their local schools would hurt their children, and they opposed the proposed closure plan. It would seem that in the discussion of consolidation, parents should be consulted.

Susanne Baisch, a school-improvement council member at Port Royal Elementary, said the proposal would send her daughter to Port Royal for third grade, to Mossy Oaks Elementary for fourth, and to Beaufort Middle School for fifth.

"Finances aside, is this moving really good for our children?" she asked.

The residents also criticized a task force that voted 5-4 last week to recommend closing Port Royal and Shell Point elementaries, asking why several members abstained from that vote.

"The task force which needs to be implemented is one that is comprised of taxpayers and parents to review the school board district offices' expenditures, from coffee to salaries," said Port Royal Elementary parent Melinda Cato.

Port Royal Mayor Sam Murray also addressed the board.

"I'm holding my comments until the task force actually makes their presentation to you," Murray said. "But I do want to point out the fact that both schools you're talking about closing are in the town of Port Royal."

School board Chairman Fred Washington defended the task-force process and said if the school district has "extra capacity," officials would be derelict if they did not examine and address the issue.

"As much obligation as we have to parents, well, we also have some obligation to taxpayers who are not parents," he said.

Washington said parents should continue speaking out and -- if need be -- take their case to voters.

"We're elected folks," he said. "You determine if we sit here or not."

District superintendent Valerie Truesdale said the task force will give a final report to board members Thursday, unless it does not finish its work today.

The lesson learned by parents when schools are closed -- the lesson being taken from this situation in Beaufort -- is that elections have consequences.

No comments:

Post a Comment