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BoE drops AASU partnership, cites economy
Judy Scherer
Superintendent Judy Scherer - photo by Courier file photo
In anticipation of budget cuts trickling — or flowing — down from the state, the Liberty County Board of Education has withdrawn from a partnership with the AASU’s satellite campus in Hinesville.
“The current board of education did not feel that a commitment to the Liberty Center was the best use of their resources at this time,” Superintendent Judy Scherer said. “These are very difficult financial times for the school system, especially in light of recent and future budget cuts.”
Scherer said the decision was financially driven as the board has yet to determine the full depth and impact of the economic situation. Luckily, the center shouldn’t feel the impact too much as she said it was the first time an agreement had been made between the schools.
“To my knowledge we have never actually given them any money. It was just a verbal commitment to do $40,000 for each of the next 10 years,” Scherer said.
She also said there are other schools in the area that would make for good partnerships, but as of right now it’s just not fiscally possible. The board didn’t want to show favoritism toward one particular school.
“In addition, there were concerns that if the board committed money to AASU then it would be obligated to give to other colleges as well. The school system is supportive of AASU, its programs and will certainly look for other ways to partner with them.”
Despite the loss, an AASU official says the Liberty Center would continue.
“We’re sorry the board dropped out,” said Bill Megathlin, assistant to the president of AASU.
He said the Liberty Center’s recent increase in enrollment, which reached double digit growth last year, shows the need for the facility, and they will not give up on the partnership between Hinesville or the BoE. He said he has high hopes for a future partnership with the BoE even if it doesn’t involve financial assistance.
Megathlin also said the lack of funding, which was never a certainty, will not stop the project from going further.
“We will find a way to handle all those we can attract,” he said.
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