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Hard Call: Wood County Board of Education made right decision

Last week, Wood County Board of Education members voted to close McKinley and Worthington elementary schools. It is likely they will again do the right thing Oct. 23 and vote to close Waverly Elementary School.

But doing the right thing is not always easy. It does not always leave one feeling like celebrating.

“We do not take this lightly and it hurts us all to go through this,” said Board President Rick Olcott.

Declining student population, increased costs and years of others in a position to take action who chose the politically easy way out at the time meant this board of education had to make a choice. They had to face reality and do what was right for the students and the taxpayers. They had to do the difficult thing too many others were afraid to tackle.

“We are running out of financial resources and will potentially deplete our reserves in 20-24 months,” said board member Justin Raber. “We cannot take a wait-and-see attitude.”

This version of the Wood County Board of Education should be applauded for its determination to take a see-and-act attitude, instead.

Change can be difficult and a little scary. It is natural for parents, teachers and administrators who must face that change in the coming year to feel a bit uneasy. But it is time now to accept what will be and move forward. Put all that effort into making this transition the best it can be for our students.

There is no agenda to harm a particular group of kids here, no plan to take away what students need or worsen their situation. These closures and consolidations will mean better facilities, a better use of resources, perhaps even more opportunities for students. This should be viewed as an exciting step in the right direction for Wood County’s children — a step that, because of the board’s courage, WILL be taken, assuming the state board of education also does the right thing and approves the moves, in November.

Bravo, to this Wood County Board of Education for setting those wheels in motion.

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