Former board member attacks four-school model

A “four school model” for the future of the Warren County School District may have won at the ballot box last fall.

But it’s far from a unanimous position county-wide.

Former Warren County School district board member Joe Colosimo addressed the board Monday and made that plain.

Colosimo, a two-term Region II board member who lost in last year’s primary amid the debate over school reconfiguration, started his remarks by stating he wanted to address the “misinformation, intellectually dishonest information and gaslighting” that has been unfolding in the community over the district’s budget crisis.

“50 years. Five decades. Half a century,” he said, is “how long some of these communities have had to address their population situation and lack of student situation. This isn’t a surprise.”

He then addressed some “myths” that he finds “annoying as a taxpayer” ranging from administrative expenses to teachers to an argument centered on frivolous spending.

He said that central office spending is just 3.24% of the district’s budget and pointed out that the district spends three times that much on bond and interest payments from recent building renovations.

“We’re building heavy,” he said. “So what is the issue? The district has $83 million in debt that won’t reduce until 2028. What’s the cost per student to have 130 students in a multi-million dollar building? That cost is astronomical but we don’t worry about that.”

“We’ve got this fascination with bricks and mortar,” he said. “Nobody wants to stand up here… Save Our Schools, 2 Schools 1 Fight, and say ‘Yes, we are the reason the district is in debt as deeply as it is.’

“Warren County is aging,” he said, with high poverty and high fixed incomes rates. “We ignore that because we want mascots. We need two schools at most. One most likely,” arguing that a consolidated school would still not be large.

“Warren isn’t discussed because Warren has enough students for now,” he said. “Is what we’re doing and where we’re heading quality?”

Colosimo said that students can date, work, fundraise, perform in musicals, participate in youth sports and attend the career center from across the county.

“Apparently, to some, they can’t educate together across the county. They can do everything else.”

“Let’s not tag this on to teachers (or) central office,” he stressed. “Let’s tag it where it belongs. This fascination with having four mascots and four high schools. That’s where the debt and budget crisis are rooted.”


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