Tonight the Randolph County Board of Education is slated to make some decisions that are likely to prove unpopular, but potentially necessary.
The vote will come on proposed reductions in force (RIF). The dissension will likely come from teachers, students, parents and community members. It's a similar scenario that Randolph and other counties throughout the state have faced time and again. The reasoning is not one simple answer, but always has ties to funding allocations.
What's a little different about this year's dilemma is some of those needed dollars come from a federal source, and the push is on in Congress to keep the dollars flowing. Specifically, school systems throughout the nation are poised for financial setbacks if the federal government does not renew the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which gives counties a payment in lieu of taxes based on timber harvest.
Hopes for continuing this funding are high, but uncertain.
The school board, however, has no choice but to present recommendations to the state by the mandated deadline of Feb. 2.
Many local residents have signed petitions, attended board of education meetings and spoken out about these RIFS and cuts to school programs. That's an excellent first step. Those efforts should be maintained and sent to a federal level where lawmakers have the power to reauthorize funding.