09/20/11 — The right thing: The numbers don't lie. Communities in Schools worth investment.

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The right thing: The numbers don't lie. Communities in Schools worth investment.

When the going gets tough, you are supposed to focus on the basics. After all, you have to learn to walk before you can run.

And if you are in a leadership position in Wayne County, Mount Olive or Goldsboro, you have to understand that planning for the future is about more than Air Force museum dreams and new infrastructure.

Sometimes you have to set a priority at a basic level and make that happen first.

The Goldsboro City Council decided not to fund the Communities in Schools graduation coach this year -- and thank goodness, the county saw fit to keep its portion of the funding in place so that the program is able to continue.

So now, Communities in Schools is scrambling to find the funds to keep the coach in place at Southern Wayne High School -- another spot where extra guidance could make a big difference.

The point is Communities in Schools should not be scrambling for funding. This is one of the first places city leaders should have invested their money this year.

Why? Simple, it works.

The numbers are astonishing -- success in the 70s and 80s in most cases -- and more students graduating from Goldsboro High.

And why is that so important?

It does not matter what kind of infrastructure is in place or how many art galleries we have if there are too many students finishing high school with no or limited prospects for their future.

Investing in a program with proven results should be this city's top priority, not taking on a "maybe" that might or might not bear fruit.

But all that is stuff we have already talked about.

For now, the goal should be making sure that this program gets the support it needs to continue the good work it has already done.

There are fundraisers planned to allow Communities in Schools to fund this program -- and if you believe that children are truly the future of this community, this is a cause that you cannot help but support.

And, next year, or sooner if the option is available, city leaders should take an active role in doing what they say they are doing -- setting clear priorities for the future of this city. If improving education and graduation rates are what matter, this is a great first step.

This community's future rests squarely on the shoulders of not only this generation of leaders, but those who will be coming in the future.

This is a way to create more of them and, in turn, more possibilities for this city and county.

Published in Editorials on September 20, 2011 10:26 AM