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Editorial: Good to see community schools alive

In these austere times, we're all being asked to do more with less.

In the public arena, governments are looking for balance as they cut services to offset dwindling revenues.

While the economic situation is forcing some unpopular decisions, we know we can't have it both ways - if we don't want tax hikes, we'll have to lose some services.

But we're glad to see the survival of a program that was in the expense-cut crosshairs: the community school program of the Gwinnett County Public Schools system.

Each GCPS high school has a Community School program that extends education and recreation offerings to all in the community.

According to the GCPS Web site, "If you have a natural curiosity about the world around you and are eager to learn, you may wish to attend one or more of our many available programs."

Dance, photography, SAT preparation, driver's education, computer courses, fitness classes are just some of the offerings.

Since the 1970s, Gwinnett County government and the school system shared the cost of the program. But as part of Gwinnett County's Service Value Responsibility study, the county decided to cut funding for the community schools.

The school system will make adjustments for funding the program at mid-year as part of its normal mid-year budget review. In addition to the collected program fees, money the district has saved or that went unused by other programs will be used to help fund the community schools.

The community schools program allows everyone in a community (not just those with children) to benefit from the school's presence. So we're glad they'll survive.

Much like churches, schools play an integral part in building a community and we need all the community building we can get during the current downturn.