After much deliberation, the Liberty College & Career Academy location off Airport Road officially was deemed ready for construction during a luncheon Friday afternoon at the Liberty County Board of Education Transportation Complex.
The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce welcomed guest speaker Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who update chamber members and elected officials on legislative issues and spoke about his support for career academies in Georgia.
Cagle told the audience of about 100 that he feels the economy has hit rock bottom and things will get better, and soon. He addressed audience concerns on trauma care — he said he was a supporter of the $10 tag fee that failed to pass last year — and that he understands the shortage of quality trauma-care centers and is working on getting better funding for local jails.
The lieutenant governor also said he was excited about breaking ground on the much-anticipated LCCA, which will be just minutes from the Savannah Technical College campus on Airport Road.
“Not every child is going to college,” he reminded the audience. “[But] that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be successful. Eighty percent of the jobs of tomorrow need some technical training.”
The new LCCA will allow students to earn technical college credit while still in high school, and the facility is expected to open in August 2012. Currently, there are 23 career academies across Georgia, Cagle said.
HOPE Scholarship and pre-K cuts were briefly mentioned by the lieutenant governor, who said he stands by the governor on his cutback decisions. The current plan is to slash pre-K program hours back to allow more students to enroll, and high school students with a 1200 SAT score and 3.7 GPA will have fully paid college tuition through the HOPE Scholarship.
“They’re going to be changes,” he told the educators in the audience. “The governor has outlined his plan … I think it has merit.”
Educators and Liberty County Board of Education members repeatedly have said in the past few months that they are excited about the academy’s construction, its addition to the Liberty County School System and the support they have received from the governor.
“Lt. Gov. Cagle has been an avid supporter of the career academy concept and has worked to obtain money for construction of new academies from the general assembly for several years,” Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said. “It is fitting and certainly an honor for us to have him present for the groundbreaking ceremony.”
Although times have been tough, according to the governor, he believes the changes that are coming through the state and federal governments will have a positive impact on the nation and the education system.
“We’re excited about the future of education,” Cagle said. “We’ve got challenges in the budget. We really have to focus on what we need to be spending our money on.”
BoE board member Charlie Frasier said the career academy has been a long time coming and is something he has seen other counties have luck with.
“We think it’s a good thing. We’ve been patient about it,” Frasier said. “Our final vote was ‘let’s do it.’ Everybody on the school board was in agreement … from what we hear, it works out real well.”