05/23/07 — Breakthrough: Finally, a meeting that sends message of hope for future

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Breakthrough: Finally, a meeting that sends message of hope for future

At long last, leadership.

Tuesday’s meeting between the Wayne County Commission and the Wayne County Board of Education was a milestone of sorts — and an indication that someone is, indeed, thinking about the county’s children first.

After months of bickering and name-calling, both boards sat across the table from each other and decided that making this county’s schools the best they can be is only going to happen if they work together.

And, it seemed, for the first time in a long time, they set aside acrimony and hurt feelings and listened to each other’s points of view.

In the end, they managed to see that this is not about control, who’s the better board or just dollars and cents. This is about the future of Wayne County and its children.

In the coming weeks, the school board will present a more detailed list of what its members think are the most-pressing needs in the district — with a ranking.

And the commissioners will head out to the classrooms and school buildings to see what the real obstacles and opportunities for improvement are. They will understand a bit more what it is like to run a school today, and the school board will understand the wrangling that is necessary to balance a county budget.

And for the first time in a long time, it seems like there just might be a much stronger, unified effort in place to make this county’s schools not only on course for proper facilities, but on the road toward excellence.

Now that there seems to be progress toward a resolution of the facilities question, the next job will be a community assignment.

When the county’s leadership tells the community what is needed to have the best schools in the area, we, the voters, have to listen and decide what we want our priorities to be.

No one wants to rubber stamp out-of-control tax increases, but it might be time to think beyond today’s bills to tomorrow’s potential. A stronger and more economically viable county benefits us all.

The commissioners and school board have pledged to work together to bring the information to the people.

It will be up to all of us to listen and to weigh potential and possibilities against budget realities.

This is a critical step in this county’s future — and one of the most important decisions we will make as a community this year. We cannot afford to be distracted.

When the facts are in, it will be our turn to be leaders. It is vital that we rise to the challenge of helping decide what the next step is for Wayne County and its schools.

And, finally, we have leaders who are serious about showing us the way.

Published in Editorials on May 23, 2007 11:30 AM