I have been concerned for some time by the anecdotal evidence that many families with school-age children were choosing to live somewhere other than Aiken County – even if they worked here – due to the condition of our public school infrastructure.


The recently released benchmark study not only verifies that concern, but indicates that it is happening at a very aggressive rate.


We must improve our attractiveness to families and to industries that may choose to locate here. It is not only an educational and quality of life issue, but also an economic issue.


Improving the business climate is the No. 1 factor to a community’s success, and having up-to-date school facilities is the key to unlocking our community’s future.


We need school facilities that match the quality of the classroom instruction so new business will locate here, existing businesses will grow and expand, and future residents will choose to work and live in Aiken County.


The one-cent sales tax to help fund school facility needs goes far beyond simply putting money into brick and mortar. It goes into supporting our business climate and Aiken County’s future.


A thriving economy does not just happen. It takes hard work and the commitment of the community to help.


It takes real estate and the goods and services of many small businesses to support new and expanding business.


It takes business-friendly government. It takes a trained and educated workforce. And it takes a community that puts its best face forward with the modern amenities necessary to attract and retain future business.


Paul Dusenbury


Aiken


Greater Aiken


Chamber of Commerce board member