Advertisement

Wivell's idea worth a look

May 27, 2003|By BOB MAGINNIS

When Washington County School Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan announced she would deal with a $4 million shortfall in part by cutting positions at the central office, she no doubt pleased those who have argued that the the system is top-heavy with administrators.

But when a budget hawk like Commissioner William Wivell questions whether that's really the best approach for the long term, we have to consider his argument.

Morgan said the cuts are necessary because the system got almost $4 million less than it requested from the commissioners this year. The school system had sought $78.4 million, but received a commitment for only $74.6 million.

To her credit, Morgan did not attempt to punish the commissioners for the shortfall by cutting popular programs or classroom instruction. And she's said that given the economy, the commissioners died the best that they could do.

Advertisement

Credit must also go to Wivell, who might have reacted to Morgan's actions by saying "Way to go!" and then moving on to the next issue.

Instead, Wivell expressed concern that the move might result in a situation in which classroom teachers wouldn't have proper supervision. Instead, he said, the school system and the county should work together to merge departmentsa that don't affect classroom instruction, like payroll, human resources and transportation.

But why stop there? Why not do as business leader Richard Phoebus suggested in April and study how all local agencies might merge functions. Though some elected officials have reacted in horror, the idea of studying how everyone can work more efficiently together is one whose time has come.

Can Washington County afford to do things as it always has done, or is there a better way? Until there's a group appointed to study the idea, no one can say for sure.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|