One of Gov. Pat McCrory’s first priorities upon taking office in January focused on the state’s crumbling infrastructure. Perhaps some members of the Nash County Board of Commissioners should follow the governor’s lead.
Members of the governor’s cabinet reminded newspaper publishers and editors of that priority during a meeting in Raleigh Tuesday. The last time the state set aside any money for building repairs and maintenance, they said, was in 2008 – before the Great Recession. The budget passed by the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly this year approved $150 million for infrastructure needs.
The average age of a state building in North Carolina is 45 years old, one member of the administration noted Tuesday. That’s “ancient,” he said.
By contrast, the average age of a building in the Nash-Rocky Mount Schools system is 48 years old. If state buildings, on average, are ancient, then poor Red Oak Elementary School, built in 1932, practically dates back to the Stone Age.
Yet some Nash County commissioners resisted the presentation of a schools capital needs proposal presented this week by Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson.
Jackson’s proposal is huge – $136 million in capital improvements over a 10-year period, as Telegram staff writer Jim Holt reported Tuesday. But what is the alternative to such a plan?
Students aren’t going away anytime soon. The emphasis on good public education is more critical than ever. And the longer schools go untended, the bigger the liability their crumbling walls present to the safety of our children and to the expense of taxpayers.
No one wants to take on an improvement plan with a $100 million-plus price tag. But the longer county commissioners pretend those critical needs don’t exist, the more harm they cause the school system and ultimately their constituents.