Editorials

Save Sanford’s legacy at the Governor’s School

Senator Terry Sanford addresses reporters at a press conference at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham on Nov. 5, 1992.
Senator Terry Sanford addresses reporters at a press conference at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham on Nov. 5, 1992. 1992 News & Observer archive pho

Those who worked by his side said Terry Sanford, governor of North Carolina at the dawn of the 1960s (1961-65), was a big idea guy. He liked to work late at the Governor’s Mansion coming up with plans and programs. One program that came out of those sessions was the Governor’s School, which gave gifted high school students a chance to focus on their artistic and academic interests for several weeks on a college campus. The first of its kind, the program has been imitated since across the country.

The program is now more than 50 years old, but it’s under threat with the Republican-led General Assembly about to take away its state funding in the name of moving it to other programs. Because Republicans are focused only on tax cuts for the wealthy and business, they can’t see why it is silly and damaging to strip a relatively paltry $800,000 from a $20-billion-plus budget. The school must be preserved, and alums are making that clear to GOP lawmakers.

Some of these people have enjoyed great success and believe strongly in the program, and they may have enough political clout to be heard.

The Governor’s School is a valuable asset to this state. It has helped four or five generations of the best and brightest. It should be allowed to help more.

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