Before voting on Nov. 5, there are many facts to consider.
Fact: The school board voted 10-1 in May to cut $5 million from its operating budget of $255 million – but they ended up cutting only $3,000. Can this board be expected to provide adequate financial oversight of a $345 million spending program?
Fact: Discussion by the school board was rushed and the board did minimal vetting of the projects on the ballot. They had until mid-August to complete their job but the referendum was approved in May. Why?
Fact: More than half of the funds in Question 1 are allocated for three schools where enrollment is declining and one school – Battery Creek High School – is half empty. The district admits that enrollment will continue to decline over the next five years in schools north of the Broad River.
Fact: Over 70% of the funds in Question 2 will be spent on athletic facilities and playgrounds, two categories ranked very low by the community committee. Yet the board ignored that. Clearly, these are wants not needs. Do we need to spend $5 million on artificial turf at the six high schools?
Fact: The director of the Career & Technical Education program recommended against putting CATE expansion on the ballot. She told the board to hold off on including CATE expansion to give her more time to develop the program. Nonetheless, CATE is included.
Advocating “for the children” does not mean that tough questions and facts should be ignored.
Hilton Head Island
Schools need a ‘yes’ vote
As a substitute teacher at Hilton Head Island High school, I am honestly amazed at the poor conditions of the building.
Cheerful bulletin boards and decorations can only partially mask the long list of problems underneath.
On my first day of work, the high school was put on a lockdown. I could barely hear the weak intercom and I did not have blinds that worked in my classroom to properly cover the windows as instructed. (I noticed many teachers had to use sheets to pin over their windows.) Fortunately, everyone was safe during that lockdown, but changes need to be made to prepare for all types of potential situations.
I also substituted at the IB elementary school and, unfortunately, it rained that day. There were long standing buckets out to catch the drops. The temperature control in the classrooms is not working effectively, and I don’t know many students who can learn when they are sweating or freezing.
As a resident of Hilton Head for 21 years, I strongly encourage our community to support the referendum for our schools’ improvement. We live in a beautiful area, yet our children attend schools in extremely poor conditions. School improvements would increase the value of our entire community, from new home sales, increased property value, and safe classrooms.
Our schools need our support to provide the essential improvements, from security to updated technology, that will help keep our kids safe and be prepared for the future.
Hilton Head Island
How to fix this danger on SC 170
I have a suggestion regarding the intersection of S.C. 170 westbound and Okatie Boulevard near Sun City.
Often, vehicles in the right lane of S.C. 170 are backed up waiting to get onto U.S. 278 eastbound.
A driver in the backed-up right lane will then leave an opening for vehicles coming out of Okatie Boulevard to make that left turn. I’ve seen four instances when these “unconscious” drivers leave the opening while the traffic in the lane next to them is still moving at normal speed, possibly causing a dangerous collision and possibly killing someone.
The solution is easy. Put a “No Left Turn” sign at that intersection.
To those unconscious drivers who think they’re being courteous, you’re not. You’re lending to a possible collision with possible bodily injuries or even death.
The “No Left Turn” sign should be placed at that intersection with notice to those waiting on line of the signage.
Racism alive in America
The “feel-good” sentiment of the American white population is that race relations in America are just fine, and “we have overcome.”
Since the major upheavals in civil rights during the 1950s and ’60s, the mainstream of white America no longer pays much attention to race as a continuing issue (other than believing faulty data on disproportionate crime causation). However, racism still predominates our society and is deeply imbedded in all functional areas.
Black Americans continue to face discrimination and inequity in job opportunities, education in all school levels, treatment by law enforcement, criminal justice in the courts, incarceration rates, and just walking, driving or shopping.
Unfortunately, the media gives little attention to racism except when it is exceedingly obvious and headline-grabbing.
However, black citizens are confronted every day with racism in ways that are not obvious to the white population, or are not viewed as racist by them.
Of course, all non-white citizens experience racial bias, but blacks are impacted the most.
Many whites believe that there is no need for the liberal notion to be politically correct, but this is wrong. Almost always, being politically correct is doing the right thing. Doing the right thing in this instance means we (the white population) need to acknowledge and openly discuss racism.
We cannot make things better unless we understand the issues surrounding racism and the impact it has throughout the lives of black citizens, and then openly talk about it, and work individually and collectively on making a difference.
Hilton Head Island
Trump betrays nation’s honor
As a retired U.S. serviceman, I am asking you to open your paper’s pages to invite letters like mine to vigorously protest President Donald Trump’s betrayal of our allies – as well as our country’s honor.
According to reports, he said that he warned Turkey not to attack the Kurds – but they are. And if our Kurdish allies are forced to release ISIS fighters – whom the Kurds had been keeping in prison – these fighters would flee to Europe to create mayhem there.
What would have happened to the American Revolution if the French had not equipped our Army or the French Navy had not blocked the Royal Navy from resupplying General William Howe at Yorktown? The U.S., as we know it, would be an entirely different entity. Would the U.S. still be part of the British Empire?
To U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who fought alongside allies in World War I (as my father did), in World War II, in Korea, and in the multitude of military conflicts since to win the Cold War, our president’s desertion of the Kurd’s to the Turks is treachery.
I ask the Gazette to print this letter and forward it on to other newspapers so they can also get their readers’ reactions.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it was a date “which will live in infamy.” I say: desertion of our allies the Kurds is another day of infamy – and the shame is ours.
Lindsey Graham should disavow Trump
The fact that President Donald Trump compared a lawful, constitutional process to a lynching shows a complete ignorance of the shameful history of America’s ethnic cleansing during Jim Crow.
It should be rebuked by everyone, but apparently not U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a lifelong South Carolinian in a state where 185 known lynchings took place.
Perhaps both Graham and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (who also defended the president but “expressed concern” about the word lynching) should appear with the president at Benedict College, a majority black college in Columbia, and respond to questions from the audience. Or, better yet, they should face an empty room with the voices raised outside.
Graham has made himself a pathetic sycophant. If he were looking for a father figure to replace the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, who actually helped him, he could not have chosen anyone who could hurt him more.
How to submit a letter
Send letters to the editor by email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you may submit a letter online.
Letters to the editor must be 250 words or fewer and include your first and last names, street address and daytime telephone number so we can verify the letter before publication.
You are limited to one letter per 30 days.
Letters may be edited for length, style, grammar, taste and libel. All letters submitted become the property of The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.
Letters will be accepted only if they are typed into the body of an email, not sent as an email attachment.