Senate lawmakers have passed a budget calling for total defunding of the Governor's School. It's a summer program offering students from across the state the chance to dive into a variety of subjects -- from natural science to history to drama.
The Governor’s School receives $800,000 from the state each year.
The School’s Foundation President Lee Conner said he chose to attend the program six days a week for six weeks during the summer of '91 -- instead of hanging out at the beach in his hometown of Wilmington.
“And I loved it. I loved it more than being at the beach,” he said. “And if that's not a testimony to how awesome Governor's School is -- and the experience of it, and how much of an impact it makes on your life -- then I don't know what is.”
The Foundation has called on alumni to contact their representatives and ask that funding for the program be restored.
The school has invited gifted students from across the state to two college campuses for the past 54 years. There, students have studied everything from music to math to natural science.
Now state senators want to redirect funding for that program to a different one. It's called the Legislative School for Leadership and Public Service.
Supporters of the Governor's School, including Connor, say the proposed program is not a replacement.
“Why would you get rid of a program like that and try to shift its money to something completely new, undefined and untested, with a much more limited focus?” he said. “It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, and I don't think it does to a lot of other people, either.”
Conner said the program is especially valuable for students from rural and under-resourced communities.