County should shoulder its responsibility to SCC

Sampson’s Board of Commissioners need to rethink their decision to withhold capital outlay funding from the county’s community college simply because they are receiving financing from other sources.

One simply should not have anything to do with the other.

Commissioners have an obligation to the community college, one they seem to easily be able to sidestep at the drop of a hat, something with which we take exception.

During this week’s commissioners’ meeting, discussion turned to the $250,000 first proposed in the 2016-17 budget to be allocated to SCC each year for the next 10, capital outlay funds that will help the college keep up its facilities and maintain such things as HVAC.

The proposal showed commissioners were willing to shoulder their share of responsibility for SCC.

Monday, however, Commissioner Jerol Kivett raised the issue, noting that since SCC had received what he called a “windfall” from the Connect NC bond money, he couldn’t justify to the public giving county money to the community college.

It is true SCC will receive $4.7 million from the bond monies distributed through the recently passed Connect NC bond. It is also true the college could receive another $1.2 million through an EDA grant. But those funds have nothing to do with Sampson’s responsibility to help the college through capital contributions.

It seems our community college always gets short-changed. We remember years ago now when then SCC president Dr. Bill Aiken, in a chivalrous attempt to help commissioners and both school systems, deferred his position in the county’s facility plan — one that would have seen a new building on the SCC campus — to much lower on the list so that funding could be acquired to build the new Union, Midway and Clinton high schools, along with the new Roseboro Elementary.

In the end, and with a financial crisis at hand, SCC found itself out in the cold, with no facility on the drawing board and no likelihood that it would get done in the foreseeable future. It still hasn’t.

Since then, community college officials have continued to ask for capital outlay, and while they get something, it usually doesn’t come close to meeting the true needs on the campus.

And now, with $250,000 on the line, commissioners unanimously opted to set aside the allocation in a reserve fund rather than giving it to the college because SCC was fortunate enough to get money from other sources.

We contend that the commissioners have a financial obligation to SCC no matter what other funds they might be fortunate to garner in any given year. Doing less seems like a shirking of one’s duty. Commissioners don’t normally do that, and we hope they will reverse themselves this time around, too, when they adopt the budget Monday.

SCC is a pivotal part of this county. Commissioners would do well to remember this and shoulder the responsibility we believe is theirs.