Sunday, April 17, 2016

Editorial Ignores Role of CCSD's Small Schools in Community

How do you measure in dollars a school's importance in a small community? Last week's editorial berated three state lawmakers--Robert Brown, Mary Tinkler, and Wendell Gilliard--for proposing that the state legislature ensure that schools important to small communities do not go first on the chopping block of financial reform.

The editorial seems to assume that the state never gets involved in the business of legislating rules for individual school districts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the composition of the Charleston County School District with its constituent boards is a case in point.

The proposed rules may not be a suitable answer to what should happen to small schools, but neither is the mantra that keeping them open for the community should be based solely on money. What the editorial board forgets is that much of Charleston County--the parts they rarely see--have a rural history that should not be erased by a school board elected based on county-wide results. Why should a majority of the population of Mt. Pleasant, for example, decide who represents the small community of McClellanville? That's not true representation.

Schools such as Jane Edwards on Edisto, Lincoln in McClellanville, and Baptist Hill in Hollywood are centers of community life. Take them away and the communities surrounding them will suffer greatly. As our culture becomes more and more fractured, such centers create value in themselves.

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