Friday, February 21, 2014
Dorchester County Council voted to provide $10,000 for the FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Program at its meeting Tuesday night.
In a motion by Councilwoman Carroll Duncan, the Council voted five in favor, two abstaining, to give the robotics group $5,000 from the county contingency fund and another $5,000 from regular wages savings of the administrator’s office.
Councilmen David Chinnis and Jay Byars abstained in the vote.
The Council has typically funded the group’s annual $10,000 request using contingency funds.
However, this year the request came later than in previous years and the Council has less than $10,000 available in the fund.
Wanting to continue supporting the program, County Administrator Jason Ward informed the Council of the opportunity to use savings from his office’s budget.
According to Councilman Larry Hargett, the Council has funded the robotics program for at least 10 years, “as long as I’ve been on Council,” he said.
Dr. Minnie Blackwell addressed the Council at its last meeting requesting the funding for the program.
The county has three robotics teams at the high school level – Team 342 at Fort Dorchester High School and Team 3489 at Ashley Ridge and Summerville High schools from DD2, and Team 4083 at Woodlands High School from DD4.
According to her presentation the robotics program costs around $100,000 to fund all three teams.
Bosch is a major supporter of the program and funds half of that amount.
The program funds pay for the teams’ travel to regional and national competitions, as well as material to build the robots from scratch.
The county teams have won several competitions since their inception.