LAURINBURG —It is about the economy, stupid.
That is not exactly what County Manager Kevin Patterson told commissioners Tuesday night, but it is close. Patterson said having a well-educated populous is as important to the economy as having a skilled workforce.
Patterson plans to share his thoughts on education when county commissioners hold a joint meeting with the Scotland County Board of Education on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. at the A.B. Gibson Center. The boards will meet to talk about a proposed school consolidation.
The joint meeting will include a presentation by First Tryon on its analysis of potential savings on the consolidation plan for elementary schools. But Patterson said he planned to offer his perspective about the needs for a long-term vision for educational infrastructure in Scotland County.
“For anyone that is listening, this is my thought process and not the boards, ” Patterson said. “Every time you start having conversation about schools you always have the conversation about school being for the children. No. It is not about the children. It has very little to do with children … it’s a great political statement to make, it’s full of emotion, but it’s absolutely meaningless.
“It’s more importantly about the economy. Do I want to live in a literate society or do I want to live in a community where there is no base level of educational standards.”
Patterson emphasized schools needing to equip students with the skills to not only be workers in the economy, but also to be thinkers.
“If the child doesn’t have the support at home, they’re lost,” Commissioner Bob Davis said during the discussion.
“The kids that graduate from SEarCH are heads and shoulders above the others,” Davis added.
Patterson also told the board in his monthly report that the county has signed an application for the repainting of the water towers. Permits for all three towers have been signed but the McEachin Tower will be the first tower painted. Once the final specifications and the permits for repair have been approved the work will be bid out. All companies that have expressed interest in this work will be contacted with information about the bid requirements.
In other business, commissioners voted to:
Proclaim September as National Recovery Month to increase awareness about prevention and treatment;
Reclassify a deputy position to an investigator. The pay increase for this reclassification would be $7,536.00, which is within the budget, officials said;
Set Sept. 22 as the date to meet with officials NC School of Government to hold a preliminary meeting on strategic planning.
Carry over funds from the Fiscal Year 2016 in the amount of $34,703 for incentives;
Approve a grant of $6,500 from the United way of Scotland County for the purchase of football helmets and;
Approve a request from the county Tax Office to release funds in the amount of $217.08 and $3,875.93 and discoveries in the amount of $4,191.78
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171