From the federal deficit on down to local school district finances, there is math, there is policy, and there is politics.
And, throughout that system, the third item trumps everything else.
There is a surety in the system that makes virtually everything negotiable, even mathematics.
And so it is in the Warren County School District.
The question of how the district's physical plant is assembled has been a perfect example of the aforementioned postulate.
In the beginning there was the fear that no matter what the district's master facilities plan said, there would come a time when the number of high schools in the county would be reduced by one or two. The folks who live in the two communities most likely to see the reduction became politically active and launched a very organized campaign to elect members of the school board who pledged to retain all four schools. Anyone who believes in the American system of representative democracy has to admire their determination and their effort.
Then, when the tea leaves seemed to indicate that one single high school was in danger - despite a master facilities plan to the contrary - another political effort was launched, just as successful as the first. And, there was the addition of an organization determined to take Eisenhower Middle/High School out of the school board's control by making it a charter school. Its organizers matched their determination with hard work and should be admired.
Enter a school superintendent, who, although new to the district, has a keen understanding of the politics of the district and its board of directors.
He came up with a plan - a compromise, if you will -that would virtually guarantee four high schools far into the future, while at the same time attempt to satisfy the need to reduce the total number of facilities in the district. Make no mistake, Brandon Hufnagel's five-year plan, which the board adopted this week, is a political solution. It is not necessarily a fiscal solution or even an educational solution. It will cost a lot of money to fulfill. It will do virtually nothing to improve the educational opportunities of the district, at least in the short term.
An educational solution would have fewer schools that are able to offer a wider variety of courses because their student populations justify them. A fiscal solution would have been a broader consolidation and reduction in overhead.
But, the political reality dictated a political solution, a doable plan that would prevent the piecemeal dissolution of the Warren County School District which would ultimately do a disservice to all students in the county.