The East Allen County School board held a public meeting last night at Woodlan JR/SR High School in Woodburn Indiana. The packed house was forced to wait anxiously for the board to address proposed school closings, while it discussed other issues. While it was made clear that public voices would be heard, the crowd watched helplessly as parts of the plan were discussed. Cheers rang out as board member Richard Allgeier pointed out that parts of the boards discussions were "putting the cart before the horse".
Although budget concerns and higher academic standards were offered as reasons for discussing closures, no evidence was provided to explain how any such plans would bring either goal to fruition. Two additional projects, a tech school and pre-college campus, were repeatedly brought up but not sufficiently explained. No mention of how this would benefit the entire school district or why these projects would warrant the closing of other buildings were mentioned. Many parents indicated extreme frustration that any such projects would even be considered if the budget is tight and at the potential loss of several high schools.
During the open public time, many provided heartfelt pleas as well as logistics concerns over the potential school closings. What much of the public had missed was the almost unperceivable board decision to take closing the high schools off the table. Unfortunately most had left before the board apologized for the miscommunication and made clear the board opinion.
Later in what can only be described as a surreal moment, the remaining crowd watched this same board unanimously approve a contract for approximately $100,000 to repave the New Haven tennis courts. While this money was under specific usage guide lines and could not have gone to teacher salaries', it hardly appears like a fiscally prudent expenditure at a time when closing schools is being discussed for budgetary reasons.