Laurens County Council last night voted to help fund participation in national competitions by three local school teams, but not without controversy. Council was presented with a request for funding to help the Clinton High School and Bell Street Middle School Science Olympiad Teams travel to Dayton, Ohio for the National Science Olympiads in May and to help the Laurens District 55 High Robotics Team travel to St. Louis, Missouri this week for the International Robotics competition.
At first a motion was made to give the Clinton Team $7,500 to be shared by the CHS and Bell Street Middle School teams, then $5,000 for the Laurens Robotics team. Councilman Joe Wood said “I want to congratulate both teams on their success, but I do not believe the county can afford this.” Councilman Ted Nash also disapproved, saying
“Schools get the biggest chunk now of our tax dollars.” Councilwoman Diane Anderson supported the funding, saying “This is a need we can and should address.” Councilman Ed McDaniel said that he disagrees with any type of this special funding, but he also disagreed with each school district getting a different amount. In an ironic twist, although McDaniel disapproved of the funding, he made a motion to give both districts the $7,500 amount, since that amount had already been mentioned; but he warned that this sort of spending can be dangerous and could lead to the county being in a deficit position. The motion to provide the funds passed with a vote of 4 to 3.