Monday, January 07, 2008

School Board Hypocrites

Last year the Fort Wayne Community School Board couldn't go a day without telling anyone that would listen how dire the school facilities were. Unfortunately, instead of taking a pragmatic approach to fixing the worst of the schools, they tried to ram an unnecessary and bloated bond project down taxpayers' throats. After their overwhelming defeat one would think they might be ready to compromise and start a project that would be palatable to the taxpayers. However, the new facilities project isn't even on their radar and they're not sure they'll even come up with a new plan this year.
The first proposal was to upgrade 42 buildings, close five schools and build four new ones. Board members said in July they didn’t want to box themselves into the one-year time frame and instead focus on listening to the community and developing a long-term plan.

But Corona said the goals have little to do with a building plan and more to do with administrative duties and academics. In Corona’s mind, the board has owned up to its promise to focus more on academics than buildings, answering criticism from those opposed to the half-billion-dollar plan.

Give me a break. The criticism wasn't that some upgrades were needed it was how much the community could afford and tolerate. Of course if Carona had bothered to listen to the people then the school board wouldn't have rejected the $350 Million compromise offered by the future remonstrators. So what's the real reason they aren't tackling this problem you might ask? Why would they let something so dire fester for an extra year? Oh yea it's an election year. And guess who's up for re-election? That's right, Carol Coen and Steve Carona - longtime board members and the two biggest champions of the original facilities project.

Board member Jon Olinger believes the board will not want to introduce any type of plan this year because members fear it will be too controversial during an election year.

Olinger and board member Kevin Brown think the longer the board waits to present a new plan, the better the chance the community will believe it lied last year when it said the district had many emergency needs.

“You have told the public that this is something that the corporation needs,” Brown said. “Our buildings are falling apart and if you go ahead and drop the ball and then say, ‘Oh, well, really what we told you in 2007 now isn’t the truth in 2008 and we’re going to wait until 2009,’ you’re losing credibility with the community.”

This is just another reason why Carona and Coen need to go. They're more interested in playing politics than doing what is right for FWCS. The district is bigger than those two and deserves representatives that will put the interests of all the students, employees and taxpayers ahead of their own.


Code Blue Schools said...

Actually we offered to go way for $300MM, not because that amount was even justified, but because we wanted to avoid a remonstrance. We still don't know exactly what's justified by building conditions ( probably around $100MM), because deterioration was used as a pretext for remodeling and spelling out the numbers would make that too obvious.

As for hypocrisy, how about giving $450,000 of taxpayer money to an Indianapolis Consultant (who did an $850MM number on Indianapolis taxpayers with the blessing of FORMER mayor Bart Peterson) including $48K to councilman Glynn Hines, to help convince Fort Wayne taxpayers to fork over $500MM plus interest. Steve and Carol went along with that one too.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Thanks for the clarification. I couldn't remember if it was $300M or $350M. Either way it was a bad move by the board and politically naive...