More must step forward

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Shelby County continues to walk in the path of an oncoming train caused by our exploding population growth and the lack of a funding source for education and transportation problems.

Shelby County Board of Education officials revealed yet another staggering statistic this week.

Shelby County Schools will need to hire 79 new teachers at an estimated cost of $3.6 million for fiscal year 2003 just to stay level with growth projections, said Director of Finance Jim Davis.

At the Unity Roundtable meeting held by the Shelby County Planning Department in January, county leaders estimated that 20 schools will need to be built in the county during the next 20 years.

Those numbers are based on expectations that the county will grow to more than 250,000 people by 2020, adding about 100,000 new residents.

Good things, however, are happening in the county with the establishment of The Partnership, led by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.

The Partnership was established with the hope it would serve as a unification of businesses and municipal and county entities. The goal, they said, is to work toward improving problems facing the county including the lack of education and transportation funding.

It was a step in the right direction toward increased cooperation among groups on the local level.

The City of Pelham recognized that and pledged $250,000 during the next five years to The Partnership. The county last week joined them offering $300,000 toward the group’s goals.

Progress is being made; however, in order for this to continue, more entities must step forward and offer their cooperation &045; both fiscally and physically