Sizable crowd encouraging at forum about school needs

ACHTUNG: The following is a not a “fair and balanced” story. It is an editorial by the editor.

IMG_0907A funny thing happened at the school forum Wednesday evening. A good crowd showed up. Obviously, this is reassuring in a day and age when cynicism too often drives the public’s behavior.

People so often these days, with good cause, seem to shrug their collective shoulders and mutter, “What’s the use? The game is rigged.” So when there are public forums or meeting to explain proposals they stay home and watch “Dancing with the Stars” instead.

This unpleasant development has been an outgrowth of really awful government behavior at the state and national level, a steady stream of evidence of lawmakers indicating, “We don’t care what you think… we’re going to go ahead and do what we want to do anyway.”

So we’re stuck with two presidential candidates with the highest negative ratings ever. We’re stuck with a continuous election cycle bought and paid for by filthy rich millionaires and billionaires who get what they want as a result. We’re stuck with a corporate media that announces the winner before the game is over.

Even worse, closer to home, we’re stuck with a State Legislature that ignores the will of the people in state-wide ballot issues such as the emergency manager system and vouchers for private schools.

Meanwhile, I often hear people say they won’t show up to a forum like Wednesday’s because they believe school administrators will just steer the public toward getting done what they want done anyway. Professor Noam Chomsky wrote a book about that process, calling it “Manufacturing Consent.”

Yet about 120 people gathered at the Wayland Middle School cafeteria to try to tell the school board, administrators and architects and construction people what they’d like to see proposed if the local school district seeks a bond issue, which it seems to be doing at a slow, deliberate pace.

It was interesting that the two issues that towered over all others were the aging high school pool and the old high school, now known as Pine Street Elementary. I was surprised that there was a lot of talk about demolishing the old building where I attended high school and send the kids elsewhere or even building a new facility. But conspicuous by its absence was a groundswell of support for building a new and very expensive pool.

Very few people dispute that the 41-year-old pool has outlived its usefulness. It is not fit any longer for interscholastic competition and is too expensive to maintain and repair. But there wasn’t much support up front for building a new facility that would be hugely expensive, but the only workable solution to the pool problem.

I agree with those who assert that if voters reject building a new pool, Wayland will never have one again. The current one finally will break down and be scrapped. That will be a shame because there is a huge need for physical education classes in water, for children being taught to swim in a lakes area and for water therapy sessions for older local citizens.

Perhaps it is time indeed to find a way for other entities, such as the City of Wayland, Wayland Township, the Gun Lake Casino and Hopkins Public Schools to get into the game known as a recreation authority.

I’m all for it.

“I write about what I see and hear… and sometimes I comment on it.”


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