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JOSEPHINE CUNNINGHAM: Don't turn back progress in Indiana

on May 10, 2013 10:59 AM

“The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of cabbages and kings” and challenges and turf and policies past and present. In other words, it is time once again to elect five members to the Indiana Area school board.

Ten candidates will grace the ballot on May 21, and the real question before the voters of the district will be whether to continue in a forward manner or to return to the policies of the past.

The election of 2011 brought cohesion to the board as well as a willingness to meet the challenges that face public education with the use of creativity and innovation.

In an uncertain time for public education, when funding from both federal and state governments has been cut, the board majority elected in 2011 has chosen to accept the fiscal responsibility with prudence as well as creativity. The budget has been balanced, buildings have been repaired and the bond rating has improved over the last two years. Decision making has focused on improving academic programs while maintaining ethical standards in a time of great stresses.

Regardless of what a few would say, it would not be prudent to return to policies of the past that several of the candidates in this election condone. The voters would be wise to remember that some of those running offered over-costs on the junior high project and artificial turf as their vision for academic growth.

Under the change to the board in 2011 a committee system was put in to place, which encourages participation by all citizens interested in improving the district.

Diverse groups, from ninth-grade basketball boosters to arts supporters, have attended various committee meetings to offer suggestions and/or criticisms. This is grass-roots democracy at its very best. The “Citizens for Effective Schools” would most likely return to the “committee as a whole,” severely limiting input from all interested parties. To reinstate that policy would allow only one meeting a month to make decisions concerning a $50 million budget.

Academic growth and performance must be foremost as goals for the future. Past policies are just that, past.

As we look toward the future, the momentum should always be forward. The road ahead might require an upward climb but it is always good to remember that education has never been defined as “backward”; education has always served as a conveyor to the future. Forward.

Josephine Cunningham


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