Over the past several weeks, there has been an "awakening" in Beaufort County.
The school board, along with school and district leaders, has hosted 12 community meetings to share information about the upcoming 2011-2012 budget. Since the conversations began in January, the public has taken a strong interest in the school district and exactly how the dollars are spent.
Community members have asked many questions regarding the budget process, including how districts are funded; who is involved in developing, approving and funding the budget; how per-pupil expenditures are calculated; what items are essential for a district to operate; what individual schools need to serve children; how capital projects are funded; what is happening across the state; and most importantly, what they can do to support learning in Beaufort County schools.
Many attendees have said, "We didn't know what we didn't know."
The school board and school improvement councils are partnering on a journey for deeper understanding. Through community information sessions, the public becomes better informed about celebrations as well as challenges in the 30 Beaufort County schools. When community members and parents share their authentic points of view, deeper understanding and accountability result.
In these challenging economic times, it is essential that common purpose be reinforced. We urge the public to become informed and involved, ask questions, advocate and support learning at high levels for all Beaufort County students. Visit us at www.beaufort.k12.sc.us. We welcome your time, talent and thoughts.
Jesse Washington III Beaufort
Editor's note: Washington is the Beaufort County School District's director for school and community services.