On the same side: Frustration, concern make some appear at odds
Here is the bottom line in the debate over schools and their future in Wayne County:
The Wayne County Board of Commissioners wants the best for the county's children and is determined to watch out for the taxpayers at the same time.
The Wayne County Board of Education wants the best for the county's children and is determined to watch out for the taxpayers at the same time.
Both boards are on the same team -- even though at times they might seem at odds.
No one invests a lifetime in a career in education and abandons all concern for the welfare of children -- and a school official cannot possibly survive if he or she cannot live within a budget.
No one in their right mind runs for public office these days unless he or she is concerned about the future of his or her county and wants what's best for its future.
But the problem always seems to be that when these two groups interact, there are mistakes made and misunderstandings that eat up precious time -- and right now, this county cannot afford any more mistakes or setbacks.
Bringing up concerns about schools and funding after the more than 15 school officials who came to answer questions had left a meeting -- and asking very little while they were there -- was a bad play. It does not suggest a dialogue. It indicates that perhaps there is still some communication work to be done.
But just because warnings have been issued does not mean the process is stalled. It means leaders on both sides need to be careful that frustration and concern do not turn into another standoff.
And that begins with continuing efforts on both sides to respect and understand each other's motives -- and to refrain as much as possible from finger-pointing and inferences that either side does not care.
This county's schools have their pros and cons -- and neither board has a handle on exactly what needs to be done and when. The economy took care of that.
But they both should know they are in this together. And if they keep that fact in mind, there is a great future ahead for the schools and the county.
Published in Editorials on March 9, 2009 10:50 AM