The Beaufort County Council made a bad investment decision when it approved a school district budget $2.5 million less than the school board had requested. The district had already made cuts and now will have to make more cuts and/or use money from the reserve fund. Spending the reserves is not a good financial practice because it negatively affects the district's bond rating.
We must invest in our public schools and in our children to help raise the socioeconomic status of families in Beaufort County. A number of Beaufort County schools have raised their test scores. A number of schools have been recognized with state awards such as the Palmetto's Finest. These efforts take money. We'll need to spend it if we plan to continue to raise the bar.
Fully funding the district's request would have increased local property taxes. For some, that is a hardship. But I bet that for many, that merely is the cost of one good steak dinner for four with wine (or several average dinners out). I think that investment far outweighs the caloric intake of dinner out.
My last child graduates in two years and I will no longer be in the schools after 21 years. But my heart and community responsibility will always be to support our public schools and to help make them better.
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I can't wait for the next Beaufort County Council elections.
Phyllis M. Neville
Hilton Head Island