Last week, the Worth County, Georgia, Board of Education decided it could no longer afford to educate the 57 Marine Corps children residing on the Marine Corps Logistics Base there, effective now. As you might suspect, beyond surprise, Albany's Marine families are upset, as is the Marine commander there.
It seems the cost to the district to educate those 57 students, totals about $470,000 a year. Yet, as with distributions to all state public school districts, Georgia reimburses about $357,000 of it, meaning that, when the accounting dust settles, Worth County's tab is about $130,000. Now here's where the district's short-term thinking and budget angst hits the brick-wall of reality. As reported by the Albany Herald, the Marine Corps Logistics Base represents a $1.4-billion annual economy impact. Our military maintains its installations where they are most fully-supported. Here in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina, we know that, and have responded accordingly for generations. In this past and future world of Base Realignments, having the opportunity to host military facilities is a blessing, financially, culturally, and for the defensive strength of our nation.
In a final twist to this story, with common-sense prevailing, Tuesday evening, the Worth County Board voted to allow those 57 students to remain in their current schools. But they did so by "grandfathering" them in, reports the Herald, implying that any new Marine kids at the base would not be automatically admitted. Clearly, more work, by and with, the school-district remains to be done. Given the hundreds of millions the Marine presence there represents, as the saying goes, the county would be well advised not to become stuck on stupid.