Right move? School board's reaction might have been a little too quick
The Wayne County Board of Education announced defiantly this week that it would go ahead with plans as they are for the current Eastern Wayne/Norwayne construction project.
Several board members suggested that it would be better to spend the money on new school facilities than on a bigger county jail -- the implication being that the county commission is raising some questions about the project to set the stage for using the money for a purpose other than school facilities.
No argument there. Funding schools should be this community's top priority -- especially as it relates to improving instruction and keeping the best teachers.
And, again, the commission does not have the best track record when it comes to getting off the ball when it comes to school funding.
But to simply write off the possibility of considering a plan that would perhaps allow the county to build one larger school with more bells and whistles -- and better facilities for the children of Wayne County -- just to prove to the commissioners you can seems a little short-sighted.
Patching up Eastern Wayne might seem like a good idea for now. After all, it makes voters happy and it would solve the immediate concern at the school.
And if this were a time when money was flowing and cash registers were ringing, we might be able to drop the money required for now and then develop a more intense plan later.
But this is not that time, and the state and federal government's money situation is less than stellar and very unpredictable.
Taking a look at another option that would allow the county to get more bang for its buck might not be such a horrible idea -- as long as it were done with haste and top priority in mind.
The commissioners and the school board have said there is no more contention between them and that they are going to work together.
There have even been signs that the county is getting the message that residents think schools are our top priority.
If the new spirit of cooperation is real -- and both boards really are focused on getting this job done -- then it could not hurt to look at one more option before committing more taxpayer funds to a project.
In the end, the board might stick with the original plan. Perhaps getting Eastern Wayne repaired is the right move for now.
Or, there just might be a bigger project that might be possible -- and one that would allow more money to be spent on not just buildings, but on teachers, supplies and technology for our students as well.
Even the possibility is worth the extra look.
Published in Editorials on February 9, 2011 10:26 AM