Earlier this year the University of Georgia Alumni Association, led by Vic Sullivan, recognized the “Bulldog 100”, a new program to honor the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA graduates. Winners are scattered across the country, but an amazing 81 percent are businesses based right here in Georgia.
Our state has made huge investments in our local universities and our dividends are the new graduates, remaining here to work locally, paying local taxes, and employing others. It is past time our local leaders recognized the same dividends are possible in Albany, offering four-year programs at Darton.
Yes, we have a 4-year university at Albany State. But where does the current ASU student body come from? 83 percent of the 4,500 students come from outside Southwest Georgia, mostly Atlanta.
73 percent of the 5,500 Darton students come from here in southwest Georgia.
Too many of our young people are leaving Albany to attend Georgia Southwestern, Valdosta State, ABAC or Georgia Southern. It is obvious that the more local students we send to a local four-year university, the more graduates we get to stay here, go to work, start a business, and raise a family.
You name any economic engine possible in Albany’s foreseeable future; nothing can grow as rapidly, or with the long-lasting benefits of four-year programs at Darton College. Think of a four-year Darton as a new factory that produces one of our most important products … working taxpayers!
Cheating parents victimizing kids
Four South Georgians are charged with lying to get their children into schools they can’t legally attend. Two people in Dougherty County and two people in Valdosta went to jail for falsifying residency documents so their kids could attend schools in districts where they don’t live.
These adults should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are they lying, but they’re forcing their children to lie as well. And sadly, these four are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more families who are lying so their children can attend schools they shouldn’t.
We applaud school officials for going after these lawbreakers and we hope that parents who are forcing their children to lie will stop. You are setting a terrible example for them and teaching them at a young age that it’s OK to break the law.
While your crime costs taxpayers money, your own children are the biggest victims.
Written by Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB.