Last week's release of a management audit of the Washington County school system was the most damaging news about the school system since the 1995 revelations of financial irregularities that led to the dismissal of two top school officials.
In a way, last week's news is worse, because the deficiencies turned up by an Indiana consulting company - including a "dysfunctional" organizational structure and poor procedures for teacher training - can't be corrected by throwing a few department heads out the door. This fix will require as much effort as building a new business, and it will take years.
On the plus side, the consultants, the board members and headquarters personnel praised the teachers, who've held the system together when they could have been suing the administration for the professional equivalent of non--support. In addition to the need for better training, it's clear now that the slippage that's occurred in the teachers' salary scale must be addressed, unless Washington County wants only those teachers the higher-paying systems have passed on. And that means not just talking about new revenue sources, but making a commitment to develop them.