School Activists to County Council: Try Doing Our Jobs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/17/05

School Activists to County Council: Try Doing Our Jobs

The ad, placed in the local paper. The ad, placed in the local paper.

The Bluffton Elementary School Improvement Council is trying to get the people who pass the budget to understand why the schools should get more money, but it's causing some major controversy. Since the Beaufort County Council decides how much the money the school district will get each year, they're asking the county council to walk in the school staff's shoes for a few days.

Bluffton Elementary is now nearly 250 students over capacity and that has the school's improvement council concerned.

"It's a wonderful school, but our teachers are facing challenges because of the growth," said the improvement council's Patty Miller.

So with the budget process drawing near, the improvement council put an ad in the local newspaper, asking the members of the Beaufort County Council to volunteer their time for three days as teacher's assistants.

"We know we were getting close to the budget cycle, so our intent was to get council to see what it's like in the school for teachers and assistants," explained the group's Phil Essman.

It's a novel approach that's not sitting well with county council members. "Next time all they need to do is pick up a phone and call, council doesn't bite," said council member Mark Generales.

Generales says the budget is tight and the council has a lot to consider, not just the schools.

Although it was a bold move, the school improvement council says it only had good intentions. "It was never intended to offend them or challenge them," said Essman.

Essman just thought it was a good opportunity for council to see what's going on in the schools. "When you get inside schools and see what assistants and teachers are doing, when you see the programs the teachers are trying, it's pretty impressive."

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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