Starbase program faces elimination - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Future of Starbase program uncertain

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The Starbase program faces closure due to federal budget cuts. The Starbase program faces closure due to federal budget cuts.
Rachel Flannery says the Starbase program helped her with math. Rachel Flannery says the Starbase program helped her with math.

The Department of Defense's budget cuts may close the door on Starbase Savannah as early as next week.

It's a partnership among the Army, Savannah Chatham schools, and the private sector aimed at cultivating the next generation of engineers, mathmeticians, and aviators. 

This week is one of the last classes of the semester, and they fear it could be the one of the last classes ever.

We sat with Haven Elementary School fifth-graders and their teacher in the Hunter Army Airfiield classroom, getting their eyes out of the books and getting their hands on math and science.

Their teacher, Katie Brooks said: "They see how they use this in a daily life as apposed to reproducing it on a piece of paper or bubbling it in on the crct testing."

Starbase serves the entire region and that service is something one Bulloch County parent, who home school's her daughter says is vital for both educator and student.

JoEllen Flannery explained: "She needed another outlet - she needed some way - somebody else to teach this to her in a way that i couldn't do it.  It opened up a world to her that she had not seen before and if it does this for other kids. It changes lives."

Two years ago, President Barack Obama pledged a goal of 1 million more college graduates in some sort of science or technology field, making it a little tougher to understand the cuts.

"If they don't know how to go out beyond the text book and expand what is not taught in the classroom - we don't have a lot of hope for the future," Flannery said. 

Her daughter Rachel loved the program and hates the idea that other students may not get the experience she so enjoyed.

"It really stinks because if you're like me, I really didn't like math. It wasn't easy for me, didn't really like it - never did. So when i came here and got to see what I could do with math, see that could figure this out - do this. It really helps," Rachel said. 

Rachel is just one of about 650 students' lives and learning Starbase Savannah has influenced.  All involved hope there will be more to come.

Starbase leader, 165th Georgia Air Guard retiree, and teacher, Betty Morgan said they may know something by May 20.

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