Dire loves company

Public sector will find private sector friends on the other end of dire

We have lots of empathy for local schools now going through yet more budget cutting.

Empathy. Not sympathy.

The fact is, the private sector in this country has already gone through this, time and time again.

Workers have been laid off over and over. Their benefits have been cut back, even as their workloads have increased. Their companies have struggled just to survive.

As for furloughs, which nobody enjoys implementing, in the private sector they’re called “pay cuts.” The difference: With a furlough, at least you get a day off!

Another difference between the public and private sectors is the amount you hear about the difficulties in each. Cutbacks at most businesses never make the news. Employees in the private sector aren’t as secure in their jobs, and therefore feel less free to bemoan their fates in public.

So when having to turn appliances and lights off more in area schools is considered “pain,” that’s where the empathy cuts off and the sympathy never takes hold.

It’s called being more efficient.

We don’t envy the Richmond County Board of Education and other top district officials having to cover for $19 million in state cuts, or the principals having to find 7 percent cuts at their schools. Real pain – not just more work and smarter planning – will be required.

We appreciate the teachers who will be covering for each other, in order to avoid hiring as many substitutes. We know teachers already have a lot on their plates. And we appreciate others in the district stepping it up and thinking outside the box.

Just know you’re not alone.

Businesses, especially the mom and pop ones, put their livelihoods on the line every day – those that have been able to weather the storms since the 2008 financial collapse, anyway. They can tell you what it’s like in the trenches when you’re in survival mode.

Such challenges can
discourage you or invigorate you. They can destroy you or make you stronger. Often it’s pure fate that determines that. Most often, however, it’s fortitude and attitude – both of which you are in charge of yourself.

We have the utmost confidence in our Board of Education and district Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson to steer Richmond County schools through these dire financial straits. But nobody should expect to be exempt from having to run this obstacle course.

There are those on the other end who can assure you it’s navigable.

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