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Both public, private schools need money

By By Paul Keane
I'm just level with you right off the bat – my children attend private school. It's a decision we made a little over a year ago when we moved to Mississippi, and it's a decision that has served us well.
That doesn't mean I am anti-public education. You can just look through the pages of our paper and see that we support public education with plenty of stories, photos, honor rolls, etc…
On a personal level, I know the importance of a strong public education system to any community. It not only spurs economic growth, but it helps in so many aspects of a community, including quality of life. I could go on and on about that topic alone.
Also on a personal note, as a child I spent six years in public schools and six years in private schools – a perfect split, and they weren't all consecutive years, either, so it was a good mix. Although critics of my work would disagree, I like to think I received a pretty good education from both arenas of learning.
Now, with the preliminaries aside, let me get to the point of this column.
Spent Thursday night at the Fun Feast held at Escambia Academy. After the meal and the program, the Board of Directors made a presentation.
The theme of the presentation was to launch a campaign to replace a building that desperately needs replacing. Parents and families are being asked to pony up a fair share of the construction costs to make it all happen.
Some of those same parents are also supportive of the proposed property tax increase that will benefit public schools. Kind of ironic isn't it, that someone would be willing to pay more in property taxes to benefit children that aren't their own, then turn around and dole out additional money to educate their own children?
But the fact of the matter is that education – public and private – needs help. And, like it or not, the main thrust of that help has to come from financial sources. It takes money to run these facilities and to properly educate children, plain and simple. When one funding source dries up or is reduced, then another one has to be found quickly to maintain things at the same level.
It's like a minister once told me. He said he had never seen a church be built by poor people, that no missions were funded by poor people, and that is was the poor people that were being helped by the missions. The topic came up during a discussion on was it bad to want to earn more money.
It makes plenty of sense in the religious world, and it makes just as much sense in the world of education.
It takes money to make these things happen, and we've all – in Alabama, Texas and across the nation – have relied on state, county and federal funds to make it happen. Those funds have dwindled, and someone has to step up to the plate to fill the void.
It holds true in the public school forum and the private school forum. It's just a way of life nowadays.
Paul Keane is Publisher of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached by phone at 368-2123 or by e-mail at paul.keane@atmoreadvance.com.