'No' vote dooms Aiken County schools to further problems

Thanks to those who voted against the Aiken County school bond referendum, substandard facilities will continue to deteriorate while graduation rates and test scores remain firmly in the toilet.

For years, teachers and students at North Augusta High School have been subjected to deplorable and shameful conditions. There is no reason to believe conditions have improved. The facility is so overcrowded, it's a wonder nobody has been trampled to death between classes.

Rotted and moldy ceiling tiles caused by leaking roofs get repaired with trash bags that then leak into the classrooms. Broken doors are held together with bicycle chains. Many classes lack adequate numbers of desks. Paper rationing is constant and book shortages are common. There are no functional science labs, leading to severely curtailed science instruction. Crowding means limited lunch breaks and no recess.

A group called We The People Aiken put out a flier urging rejection lest property taxes increase by $118 to $174 a year per $100,000 of assessed valuation. Their particular whine was about how this modest increase might impact their businesses and second homes. Apparently they need the extra $200 to $600 a year for Tea Party conventions and cruises, or for similar self-serving activities devoid of importance. ...

Many of you are fortunate enough to have inherited wealth and all the privileges that go with it. Or you have high-paying jobs or successful businesses. But you selfishly chose to act irresponsibly. Your vision of the future is, metaphorically, a nasty and divided dystopia of gated communities for yourselves and misery for others.

I guess We The People Aiken includes only those who can afford private schools and second homes. It certainly does not include those who understand that the bedrock upon which a decent, just and successful nation rests is, first and foremost, an adequate public school system.

Joni Ellsworth

North Augusta S.C.

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