08/16/06 — A good start: Joint meeting portends progress on school facilities

View Archive

A good start: Joint meeting portends progress on school facilities

It’s a beginning.

That is all that can be said for the first meeting of the Facilities Master Plan Committee.

And for now, that’s enough.

The members of the Wayne County Commission and Wayne County Board of Education who were appointed to this task seem determined that this set of meetings is not going to take a year before any action is actually realized.

And, they seem united in their determination to make sure what has in the past been a process of promises, bickering and postponements will now be a joint effort to really look at the problem of Wayne County’s aging school facilities and to come up with a realistic and manageable plan to take care of the problem.

Residents who have been waiting months — and years — for some action on the issue should view Tuesday’s joint meeting positively and eagerly anticipate what the next steps will be.

The school facilities issue is complicated. If there were one easy answer, and an equally accessible method to pay for that response, this problem would have been addressed years ago — before it turned into the mess it seems to be in now.

The officials charged with reviewing the third-party consultant’s findings and the county’s budget should have a better understanding of exactly what is needed, and what we as a county can afford, by the time the meetings are over.

But even though the meetings have started and the process seems to be off “pause,” that does not mean that the community should stop pressing for action.

It is time to do more than talk about providing proper and safe facilities for Wayne County’s children. It is time to come up with a workable plan that can be implemented both immediately for the most pressing issues, and gradually in the future to make sure Wayne County’s school facilities never get in this state again.

Those who attended Tuesday’s meeting should be commended. They got to business, set aside their own interests and started talking about what is best for the county and how to get there, quickly.

That is a sign that this discussion about school facilities is going to be different.

And there is also another positive development. The committee wants to hear what parents and community members think about the issue — what they want to see done and what they might be willing to support.

There will be a series of meetings at the county’s high schools in the near future. That will allow the community to be part of the process. Don’t miss your chance to tell the commission and the school board what you think.

This is a time when the more ideas there are, the better.

Published in Editorials on August 16, 2006 11:59 AM