When July 4 rolls around, and the annual parade winds through Warren, it will have been three years since there was a float dedicated to "Four Schools For Warren County."
The movement to retain four high schools amid some calls in the community for consolidation was the embryo of the the Community Schools Ownership Initiative that proposes and promotes the Eisenhower Charter School. In the beginning, the four schools movement also embraced fears by those in the Sheffield area that its high school would also fall victim to consolidation.
Among those who manned the float were to become active members of the charter initiative. That's a formidable dedication to a concept to maintain high schools in each of the major communities in this county. In the interim they have devoted countless hours of work toward their goal.
That the Four Schools movement morphed into the charter school movement is no secret. It is no secret because the progression of that metamorphasis is well-documented and, frankly, a reasonable progression.
Warren County School Board President Arthur Stewart accurately pointed out during Monday's school board meeting that the Community Schools Ownership Initiative was born and continues to be underpinned by the fear that the school board is poised to close high schools; the petition showing support for the charter says just that. This, despite the fact that the school board has taken a number of specific actions to improve and expand Eisenhower Middle/High School as a K-12 facility, thus guaranteeing its operation for decades to come. It has also embarked on the same plan for Sheffield Middle/High School.
One wonders what the reception to that petition would have been if its premise had been: Would you remove your child from Eisenhower High School to attend a charter school a couple miles away with virtually the same curriculum, but with the addition of an agriculture program and fewer certified teachers?
Those people who founded the Four Schools For Warren County movement should take pride in the fact that they have won. Although some in the community will still contend that high schools should be consolidated to three, two or one, the school board is not only saying four, it is spending the money to guarantee it.