It's no secret that the current administration in Harrisburg is greatly enamored of charter schools and vouchers, almost anything that would move public education away from the public sector and state responsibility.
After all, education continues to be one of the most difficult challenges for Pennsylvania government, so why not punt the problem to the private and public-private sectors and let them deal with it?
While that subtle philosophy would seem to give any charter application a few bonus points with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the sheer volume of deficiencies in the Eisenhower Charter School application would seem to be difficult to overcome in an appeal of the local school board's negative vote.
So, instead of going directly to appeal, the Community Schools Ownership Initiative/Eisenhower Charter School boards plan to resubmit a revised plan to the school board.
Even those opposed to the chartering of an Eisenhower Middle/High School should give those on the other side of the issue credit for countless hours of hard work and financial commitment.
However, we believe it is time for this school district, which covers 95 percent of Warren County, to work dilligently to heal the rifts that led to the desire to break off one of its four secondary schools, rifts that were only deepened by that process.
Although there may still be questions about the long-term fiscal providence of the K-12 plan that virtually guarantees community-based schools for at least the next 50 years, the plan does include some consolidation of facilities while at the same time satisfying the original goals of those who believed the rumors of high school closings. And, let's face it, keeping a community-based high school where it is in the northern district was and is the primary goal of the charter effort. It was stated as such in the application and by the people who testified on behalf of that application.
It was also stated this week on their website: "The WCSD board recently approved to accept the $17.9 million QZAB loan intended to renovate Eisenhower Middle High School. Construction has not started nor has the money been borrowed at this time. This is just like the previous attempts by the district to renovate the school and as of now is nothing more than an incomplete plan...At least 3 times in the past years, the school board made it to this point and then stopped the process."
Now that the Warren County School Board has committed to rebuilding and expanding the existing Eisenhower M/HS to K-12, would it not be monumentally redundant to have two facilities in process at the same time?
It's time to move on and move forward, and hope that charter applications don't turn into an annual event.