It is interesting how time changes perspective.
It was just a little more than three months ago that former school board president and current Eisenhower Charter School co-incorporator David Bauer chided the Warren County School Board for dropping a zero-interest bond program for Eisenhower a few months before that.
Now, it appears that the Eisenhower Charter School proponents are trying to kill the same program for the same school.
On Jan. 10 we reported: "By refusing the QZAB loan for Eisenhower last year, the school district 'walked away from the community,' Bauer charged. 'The truth of the matter is there have been plans to close it. Not having plans to keep it open is the same thing.'"
On Monday of this week, having already lost a vote of confidence from the school board on its application, the ECS leadership stood before the school board with a deal. The ECS wouldn't appeal the board's decision on the charter application to the state Department of Education if it placed a referendum on the ballot asking voters whether they would agree to the debt incurred to improve Eisenhower and Sheffield middle/high schools as K-12 facilities.
Although the Community Schools Ownership Initiative only sought signatures from families of students currently attending Eisenhower to show support for its charter, it now wants the entire county polled on the expenses tied to those improvement programs.
Using that logic, shouldn't the entire county have been polled on the additional expenses tied to the operation of an Eisenhower Charter School, estimated by the school district at $1.5 milllion a year ad infinitum?
When we suggested a referendum on Qualified Zone Academy Bond funding a year ago, QZAB was not tied to a program that would offset much or all of its costs with the closure of elementary schools. The Eisenhower and Sheffield K-12 plans are reasonable and fiscally responsible compromises to satisfy the desire of communities to retain their educational identities as well as the realities of declining population and revenues.
The ECS organization, which has alternately professed the preservation of Eisenhower Middle/High School (the building), unique educational opportunities, and now the financial concerns of taxpayers as its highest priorities, seems to change headings like a sloop tacking through the wind.
We have all haggled and argued long enough. It is time to move this district forward in a direction that attempts to preserve educational opportunities for all students in the county while at the same time preserve the sort of community identity that the north and the east want so passionately.