Being a proud grandfather of a precious 8-year-old granddaughter who resides in the Austin, Texas area, I have come to greatly respect and admire the level of commitment and support the communities throughout Texas provide to ensure children of all nationalities are given an opportunity to not only receive a first-class education from committed teachers, but to do so in facilities that engender in students, parents, the business community and even senior citizens a sense of great pride.

I would be willing to wager that if a poll was taken in Aiken County to determine the pride from a group of respondents similar to the ones mentioned above, teachers would score high on the pride scale, but school facilities and infrastructure would garner few positive responses.

The reality is that Aiken County and surrounding cities have lost countless numbers of young families who, after seeing or hearing about our crumbling school infrastructure, completely bypass our beautiful and friendly communities and move to Columbia County or even as far as Lexington, South Carolina to ensure their children can receive a first-class education at a first-class school campus.

Since I have already proclaimed that I am a grandfather, you can correctly assume that I am a senior citizen. Being a senior citizen who recognizes the far-reaching negative impacts our communities will face now and in the future if no action is taken, citizens of all ages must rally together to support initiatives to eliminate this long-standing roadblock.

Fortunately, we have a proposed option that has the potential to move things in the right direction by creating new jobs, enhancing the growth of business necessary to keep our cities and county vibrant and attractive along with insuring a stable tax base.

If one truly considers the merits of supporting the one-cent sales tax referendum that will be on the November general election ballot targeted to give the County’s School Board the resources to replace and update antiquated school buildings and infrastructure, the huge shadow of doubt that currently exists can be replaced with confidence and renewed pride in our school system. I firmly believe the future holds great promise.

Gary Allington