Richmond County school leaders worry donations will dwindle

By: Samantha Andre Email
By: Samantha Andre Email

First at five, October 14, 2008

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga.---In today's economy, some school leaders are worried businesses may not be able to donate as much as before.

At Wheeless Road Elementary, administrators say donations play a big part in the well-being for the school. One donation is going toward a playground which doesn't exist right now.

"We have absolutely nothing, except pine cones and dirt for our children to play in. And they're missing out," said PTA President Yvette Dowdell.

That will all change soon, though, since Goody's gave the school a $10,000 grant toward their playground.

"They're asking when the playground's coming," said Dowdell about the students. "Whenever we talk about it they get real excited."

Next month they'll install some of the equipment, but they say the full job will cost about $50,000, and they still have $38,000 to go.

In these tough times, district leaders are worried about all the schools.

"Businesses and personal gifts have the potential, in an economic downturn like this, to decline," says Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden. "People have less disposable income."

Bedden was asked to speak at Tuesday's Augusta Legislative Conference, where part of his message is that the way education is funded needs to change. It's a message he hopes lawmakers will take back to the legislature.

"We just need to be more laser-focused now during these tough times and make some good sound decisions that are not driven strictly by what's liked, but in reality is something that's going to make a difference," said Bedden.

For Wheeless Road Elementary, it's all about faith things will turn out for the children.

"Children are our priority. I think everyone's gonna come around, including industry, parents and so forth," said Principal Joe Moore.

The school has gone about three years now without a playground. They took the old one down for safety because it was made up of the original equipment built in the 1950s. Their new playground should be much safer for children.


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