Editorial: Help plan for the future of our students and community

Whether or not you personally have children of your own enrolled in the Jefferson County public school system, if you live, work or own property here, you are already invested in the services it provides and the challenges it faces. Not only is it educating our area’s future workforce and influencing our future leaders but it is also the one place where our residents, regardless of their family ties, church membership, hometown allegiances or socio-economic status come together, sit next to each other and interact on a daily basis. It is where life-long relationships begin; where the ties that hold a community together are first anchored and then strengthened. Its success in all things matter to all of us. 
We firmly believe that an educated, well informed public is necessary for our country’s democratic process to function as it should. We all bear the responsibility of not only ensuring that every level of our government fulfill its obligations, but to also create the vision that defines what those obligations are, to spell out for them what we expect them to achieve.
Last week the local school system held a meeting at Jefferson County High School in which it invited parents, students, staff, area business leaders and citizens to take part in creating the board’s strategic plan for the coming years. It was from a similar meeting six years ago that the system developed its current mission, motto and vision which in part led to the plans for the consolidated middle school expected to open in 2019. 
During the meeting school leaders discussed the system’s recent accomplishments as well as the challenges it continues to face with a steadily decreasing enrollment (based largely on a combination of population loss and a reduced birth rate) and serious cuts in state and federal funding. They talked about the fact that more than 85 percent of its students come from homes that are considered economically disadvantaged. And they talked specifically about their commitment to ensure the success of every child, every day. 
Through Sept. 10, school officials are asking area citizens, parents, students and civic leaders to fill out an online survey that will help them identify what the community likes about what the schools are currently doing, what they want to change and help identify challenges the system faces in meeting these goals.
The survey is available online through the district’s website at  https://www.jefferson.k12.ga.us.
We understand how busy life can be, how just getting to work and taking care of our own families can feel like as much as we can handle on any given day. But we get the government we create and if you choose not to share your opinions, then don’t be surprised when your views are not represented. Choose to be a part of the solution.