Letter to the Editor

Reader vents frustration of schools

Sunday, January 6, 2008

To the Editor:

Six members of the public attended the public meeting of the Clay Community School Board on Jan. 3, concerning the proposed building project published.

Could the low attendance have something to do with the fact that no one knew when or where it was to be held? In an e-mail I received from Terry Barr prior to the meeting, she stated, "comments were not allowed in special sessions or public work sessions."

Imagine my astonishment to find that the meeting had been held and the public had been allowed input.

The plan was modified, but it is still based upon opinion of what is needed instead of fact.

There has been a lot of opinion as to what is needed, such as replacing safe and serviceable modular classrooms due to concerns of weather and security.

That sounds reasonable until you face the fact that the same children face more of a security risk as they walk to the school or bus and weather that would damage the modular has the potential to damage our brick buildings as well.

It is the politician's old cry of, "but it's for the children" that has been repeated many times concerning education.

One of the prices now being considered is far more reasonable and the method of financing appears far more feasible, but the question of are we still wasting money doing things that are not needed has not been answered.

Only now, we are faced with a deadline that demands a fast reaction, which can lead to a bad long-term decision. As the saying goes, "haste makes waste."

This building proposal is getting trimmed down, but it is a symptom of the illness like the cough from a cold. You can treat the symptom and gain temporary relief, yet still be sick.

We can throw money at our schools and their buildings until we can throw no more and it will be spent. On the other hand, we can demand that the facts of what is required under the law be produced for all to see and that practical needs be proven.

Our symptoms indicate that we are not paying enough taxes to support our educational programs or that what we are paying is being wasted on things that are not needed.

Replacing items such as the modular classrooms, plumbing fixtures because the pipes to them may fail, or items simply because they have been in use for years drains money from the coffers that can be used to do things that must be done such as taking Jackson Township Elementary off the septic system and hooking it to the sewer line as will be required in the near future.

The school corporation is beginning to listen on this building project but the problem goes through the entire budget. Are we paying for unnecessary things or people?

Do we have what we need and no more? Education's basic needs are a teacher and a pupil. Everything beyond that, even a chair to sit upon, is support that can make education more productive.

Have we went beyond the point of diminishing return, the point where we are throwing money away?

Leo Southworth,