07/05/08 — Let talks begin: County commission and school board plan meeting

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Let talks begin: County commission and school board plan meeting

After months of talking and negotiating, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and the Wayne County Board of Education are getting back together again to talk about facilities, improving education — and money.

Hopefully, this will become the first step in the final debate over what this county should prioritize when it comes to schools and funding this coming year.

Over the past few months, leaders of both groups have promised to work together for the benefit of this community — and to set aside terroritorial differences to come up with a plan that not only meets the schools’ needs but one that does not cost taxpayers a fortune.

And it seems like both boards have made that effort — with the help of some determined community leaders.

So, with this next meeting, many community members are hoping there will be some significant progress and a more definitive plan that includes not only how much money is needed and possible, but a plan for its use as well with some idea of the results expected.

But there is another aspect that should be considered as these leaders gather again — and it does not necessarily involve budgets and contracts.

It is really time for a more open exchange with the community about not only what residents want to see for the future of their schools, but what they are really willing to pay for.

And that includes an analysis of what is already in the budget that does not relate to education.

This next meeting is another chance to pin down a plan — and from this moment forward, it is critical that all dealings between the boards are as open as possible, even more so than they already are.

In fact, it really wouldn’t be a bad idea to plan an open call — a chance for anyone in the community who has a suggestion or a thought on education and money to come in and speak in an open public forum.

The idea? Hear possible solutions from the people who are going to end up paying for them — and to ask them what they need to hear to support a future possible bond referendum.

It is time for another major step. This week’s gathering is a chance to surge forward and to build a plan that will not only succeed, but will be responsible as well.

Published in Editorials on July 5, 2008 11:00 PM