Advertisement

Schools face sales job

September 17, 1998

After a public hearing on the Washington County school system's strategic plan that drew fewer than 50 people, Superintendent Herman Bartlett Jr. said he felt the community didn't turn out because it has no objections to the plan. Either that, or between Sept. 8, when the plan was released, and this week's hearings, citizens were more focused on the Sept. 15 primary.

But whatever distractions citizens face, now or in the near future, it is vital that they seek out information on this plan, because without the strong support that's developed through debate and discussion, it will be impossible to implement, and not just because it would require $13 million in new spending over the next five years.

In addition to those extra costs, the plan would also strengthen the superintendent's role as the day-to-day manager of the schools and clarify that school board members are a policy-making group, with no role in everyday operations.

Advertisement

If the school board agrees with that, it would mean that if your youngster is having trouble with a certain teacher, calling a school board member would no longer be a way to get the problem solved. For parents accustomed to using school board members to intercede for their children with the system, that would be quite a change.

And then there's the money. County Commissioner Ron Bowers has already questioned why the plan does not talk about finding savings and transferring the cash to areas of need in the system. That might sound like a play for frugal citizens' votes, but with the water/sewer debt situation still unresolved, convincing citizens to back the system with more dollars isn't something that will be accomplished easily.

It's not that the money isn't there. This community spends more than $50 million a year on tip jar gambling and more than $100 per resident on the state lottery. Citizens need to inform themselves about this plan and open their minds to the possibility that putting more money in the schools is not a gamble, but an investment that will yield a big payoff for the county's future.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|