01/06/07 — Just like Congress: Will the spirit of cooperation bring an end to schools debate?

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Just like Congress: Will the spirit of cooperation bring an end to schools debate?

OK, you are probably sick of hearing about the school facilities plan. Who isn’t? It seems like the topic has been on the lips of politicians and others in this county for years — and with nothing to show for it but noise.

But even if you are tired of hearing the message — the recent statements from the county manager and others ought to have perked your ears up.

Fixing schools in this county is going to require money — and that is probably going to require a tax increase.

Good for them for just saying it rather than sugar-coating it or burying the news beneath a flurry of rhetoric. These leaders want you to know that improving Wayne County is going to take more than handshakes and pats on the back between school and county officials. It is going to take your vote and your checkbook.

And in keeping with that message, leaders from the school board and the county commission have pledged to work together to come up with the best plan at the best price.

No more fighting. No more fingerpointing. No more noise. Cooperation is their resolution.

Sounds like Congress doesn’t it?

Let’s hope our version is a little more successful.

Spending millions on schools is no small decision — and neither is a tax increase. It will take thought and the willingness to look at the bigger picture — on all sides.

Wayne County voters want to know that their leaders did all they could to provide the best possible facilities at the most reasonable price. They will want to see real work, not just talk. Both boards have promised to provide both.

And when they give us the plan, we will have to look at more than just the pricetag. We will have to think about the future and what we want for our county not just for this generation, but for those who will follow as well.

Pay attention to the debate — and don’t get distracted by the rhetoric — anybody’s rhetoric. The decision we will make this year could impact what kind of Wayne County we will live in now and for decades to come. Knowing the lay of this land is critical to making the right choice, not just the emotional one.

If we are lucky, soon we might not have to talk too much more about school facilities — and the tide of cooperation will move us into other topics that need to be addressed.

Well, we will have to wait and see about the latter.

Published in Editorials on January 6, 2007 11:01 PM