12/08/06 — Action is coming: County commissioners say schools are a priority

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Action is coming: County commissioners say schools are a priority

The Wayne County Board of Commissioners has a new chairman and a new determination that this year there will be a few more checkmarks on the board’s “to-do” list.

John Bell will take the gavel from outgoing chairman Atlas Price and set forth on another year of planning the county’s future.

That’s not to say that there has been no progress in the county this year. There have been many positives in the growth column and some groundwork has been laid to create an even stronger Wayne County in the future.

But as the new year dawns, there will be several projects left without the necessary final report that any county leader or community member would like to see.

And chief on that list is the school facilities question.

There have been some steps taken toward accomplishing a new, affordable plan for improving facilities at Wayne County’s schools, but the county and the school district seem no closer to a resolution then they were six months ago.

Both Bell and new Wayne County Board of Education chairman Shirley Sims have pledged to work together to push a facilities plan to the top of the county’s list — and that is a positive. Several county commissioners also mentioned their determination to get the schools question resolved.

But it will take much more than talk and handshaking to resolve the concerns that should be on the minds of every parent who has or will have a child in a Wayne County school.

And those who have invested money in businesses in Wayne County — or who own property here — should be watching, too.

Strong schools make a strong county — one that is open for residential and business investment.

Good schools with proper facilities attract families who really want to provide their children with a first-class education.

Providing those facilities and that education should be top priority for this new commission chairman and both boards.

The time for bickering has passed. And, so, too, has the opportunity for posturing — on either side. There just isn’t time to waste.

Getting to work on the 2007 schools’ budget — and deciding how to pay for the facilities improvements — should be the first job and first priority for both boards.

The vibes are good right now. There is cooperation in the air. It will be interesting to see if it is real — and produces results.

Published in Editorials on December 8, 2006 10:47 AM