Changes to schools may be necessary

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel 

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — “There is a difference between needing a school and being attached to a school,” Wood County School board member Jim Asbury said Tuesday, during a meeting of the Wood County Schools 2016 Bond Committee.

As the committee prepares a recommendation for the cost and project list for an upcoming facilities bond, it and the community must bear that in mind.

Wood County’s student population is not what it was when the last of the current set of facilities was put in place. Even during the past eight years, Wood County Schools has lost 500 students – the equivalent of a couple of the smaller schools. It is unrealistic to think there will be a dramatic shift in the other direction any time soon.

What is realistic is the approach taken by David Ferguson of ZMM Architects and Engineers, who laid out the situation this way, “I’ve got a school with 200 kids, and a mile away I have another school with 200 kids, and I’m spending $5 million in each school. Is that feasible?”

No. It is neither the best use of taxpayer money nor the best service to our kids.

Deep down, Wood County residents and members of the Board of Education know that.

But change is hard. Memories and emotional attachments run deep, especially with elementary schools. A lot of adults are going to have to set aside childhood loyalties so future generations can get the best education possible.

These changes will not happen tomorrow, but they are coming – or should be. Residents must let board members know they understand it is more important to spend tax dollars wisely on fewer, better schools than to wastefully cling to the way things used to be.

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