There are a couple of stories on WMPM's news page I have read yesterday and today that I have considered commenting upon. I have not yet looked at "The Herald" online yet, affectionately referred to as "The Smithfield Heresy". I have been travelling quite a bit today, so I wanted to sit down, unwind, and type. A lot of windshield time gives me plenty of pondering time.
Let's start with this: "Parents of students who attend Corinth Holders School have until August 4 to notify officials if they want their children to attend a different school this fall. The Johnston County School system has announced Corinth Holders failed to meet federal benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act, for two consecutive years, in the area of reading. Federal legislation requires every student in a sub-group pass, and that did not happen, placing Corinth in a category known as “School Improvement” for the 2006-07 school year. This allows parents to decide if their children should attend a different school."
OK, so the school isn't doing well. They would be if parents had the choice of whether or not their children went to that school to begin with. School choice means that schools must excel in order to attract customers, in this case, parents placing their children as students. We are "footing the bill" and should be allowed to determine where our children are educated. To take it one step further, since the state constitution requires free public education, it would be best for parents to get a school choice voucher worth $x to go to whatever school they prefer, even private institutions. A private company contracted to run that school would yield a much better education for less money. But, this isn't private industry.
"Johnston Community College (JCC) in Smithfield plans to ask County Commissioners for $70 million for construction needs in the form of a bond referendum before county voters. The biggest project, $28 million, is a 28,000 square foot building to house information and technology services, computer lab, cafeteria, and library. A $19.5 million, 50,000-square-foot building, shared with Johnston County Schools, would give the Middle College more space. Renovations and additional classrooms in the Elsee Building would cost over $8 million. $3 million would be spent to renovate the building that houses the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium and library."
The school had better be darn sure that the auditorium needs renovation before spending money on renovating a perfectly good facility. The same for a new library. A "Middle College"? Explain why we even need a "middle college" and its function to the public before expecting me to vote for millions of dollars. The entire county school budget is $150 million. This one single institution wants almost half that amount in one bond?
I have no problem with upgrades to a computer lab. I work in a technical field and have seen computer related stuff advance trememdously in the past dozen years.
What I want is a promise or confirmation that the facilities are being used to their fullest potential NOW before considering funding more construction. I know churches that never use their facilities fully but want to build a new edifice. The same thing often happens in institutions of higher learning. It is often an ego trip rather than a necessity.