07/30/05 — Budgeting for schoolsrequires spirit of cooperation

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Budgeting for schoolsrequires spirit of cooperation

Within the next two weeks, Wayne County’s commissioners and school district officials are going to get together to talk again about how they can resolve their continuing differences over the county’s budget.

The school district says it needs more money to be able to provide a proper education for students in the county, while the county commissioners say they have limited funds and must make sure they are spent responsibly.

The commission wants to know, specifically, where the extra money is needed and why.

The county school district wants access to the funds available without having to clear any expenditures through the commission.

Both groups have the county’s best interest at heart. The commissioners want to make sure taxpayers’ funds are spent wisely, while providing the best possible education for Wayne County’s students. The school district also wants to spend responsibly, while underlining the reality that providing such an education costs money.

And then there are the taxpayers who don’t want to see a protracted battle over who gets what, because that could cost even more and slow down an already-time-consuming budget process.

As both groups prepare for their next round of talks, it is important that all those involved get beyond the finger-pointing, grandstanding and hurt feelings that usually accompany any sort of public discussion about money overseen by politicians of any sort.

The next scheduled meeting is Aug. 10. So, there is still plenty of time to plan out a scenario where this session will be the last one, and we can all get back to the business of running the county and the schools.

There is important work to be done here, and this is the time to stay focused on the ultimate goal — improving Wayne County while remaining fiscally responsible.

Compromise and openness are the first steps in that process.
Getting to that end requires entering the doors with an attitude that reflects that ultimate goal.

Published in Editorials on July 30, 2005 11:14 PM