10/21/06 — It’s too quiet: Time for earnest conversation about school facilities

View Archive

It’s too quiet: Time for earnest conversation about school facilities

Hear the sound of crickets?

That is the only noise that is accompanying the deafening silence that has followed the weeks of talk about school facilities needs in Wayne County.

After traveling to six high schools across the county, members of the Facilities Master Plan Team must now sit down to review the information they learned from residents, parents and school personnel. After that, they will make recommendations on what is to be done next.

And in the meantime, there is more silence — the same lack of conversation that has been the hallmark of the school facilities debate since it began more than six years ago.

There is nothing wrong with school officials and county commissioners taking their time coming up with a plan for what to do about the facilities concerns in the county and who will pay for those repairs.

The fact that they have actually started talking, seriously, about a solution is a very, very big step forward.

And there is also nothing wrong with the county’s commissioners pointing out that sitting down to talk about how to improve our schools is an exercise that could be positive for the future of our county — as long as they acknowledge that, for now, there are other issues to consider and that they are not the entity tasked with that endeavor.

Making sure the children of Wayne County have the best possible education within the boundaries of a reasonable budget is a goal most residents and their representatives share. It is a plan that cannot be completed in a minute, but one that should not stretch across decades either.

So, although Wayne County residents should be content to wait a little while for some more conversation about needs and budgets, they should also let their representatives on the commission and school board know that this time more talk will not be enough.

The need for a spending plan and a conversation about how to raise the money to make the repairs and improvements that are needed at Wayne County schools is long overdue.

Getting busy is the order here, for both boards.

Wayne County has the potential to be one of the areas families look to when they are choosing their next home. Safeguarding that distinction is critical to the future growth of this community.

Schools are an integral part of the economic development puzzle. Now is the time to make sure Wayne County has some of the best that the area has to offer.

And you don’t get that by just talking.

Published in Editorials on October 21, 2006 8:59 PM