President Donald Trump has threatened to cut Federal Funding for school systems across the country which directly affects us. The Liberty County School System receives funding through a program called Federal Impact Aid. It was signed by an executive order by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954. It was designed for communities like ours with large military installations such as Fort Stewart. It makes up to 10% or more of our school systems education budget.
In 1996, a group of elementary and middle school students formed a group called ABC Kids For Liberty A.K.A Young Defenders of Democracy. We were formed during a time when our school system had lost federal impact aid. In 2003, the Congressional Budget office proposed eliminating funding for the program. Within days of their announcement, the YDD met personally with Congressman Jack Kingston and US Senator …at Jack Kingstons barbeque. The first time the Board Of Education and superintendent read about our efforts was in the Coastal Courier along with everyone else. Their response was immediate and they proceeded to organize the community to save our funding.
The YDD started a Put Liberty County First petition drive. On March 7, 2003, Liberty County High School hosted a town hall meeting with Congressman Kingston with Bradwell Institute and Liberty County High School students. The Next day, we were on the front page of the Savannah Morning news and our story went national. We were successful in the saving of the Federal Impact Aid program here and in 30 other similarly situated communities across the country. Our efforts prevailed in saving our schools 8 million dollars.
Our group advised three different Georgia governors on education issues. In 2006, the state of Georgia passed a 1 billion dollar increase in education spending because of ours and others efforts. I was honored by the University of Georgia with seats with the homecoming court in 2005 and at the Sugar Bowl in 2009.
I would like to strongly advise BOE and the Superintendent of Schools to take this opportunity to be wise and not foolish because President Trumps threat to cut our funding would greatly devastate your school system. All parents should contact your Congressman and US Senators immediately to express your concerns on this grave matter. Please make every effort to protect the interest of our children.