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Give residents their own schools

August 12, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

To the editor:

The futility continues in the saga of the Indian Creek and Edison Local school districts.

We once had six local school districts, where today we have two. These six were progressive, viable leaders in the community where people gave unqualified support to their local schools. The defeat of a tax issue was unheard of because people were supporting their own schools, not someone else's.

Students graduating from these six high school could go out into the world and do anything they chose, assuming they had the brains and will in the first place. Then, school officials and school boards started searching for a problem that didn't exist. Jealousy, greed and envy triggered what followed.

In a phone conversation with the superintendent of Jefferson Union school district at the time of the Edison consolidation, I asked him if the district was in financial difficulty at the time, and if it had trouble passing levies. He told me, on the contrary, durng the last levy voted by Jefferson Union patrons, the voters renewed 10 mills that were expiring and an additional 5 mills - a total of 15 mills - by a 70 percent majority. I said to him, "With support like that, why did you want to consolidate?" His answer - "There was that little school district down in the hollow with all that money and we deserved some of it." How he reached that conclusion is beyond all comprehension. Did it occur to him and others that Stanton and Mingo Junction residents had to tolerate the presence of industry smoke, dust, odor, noise, traffic, etc.? Didn't that count for anything?

When the Indian Creek board destroyed Mingo High School, it threw Mingo Junction people a bone and changed the name of the high school. The board must have forgotten that through the years, most of the students who graduated from Wintersville High School didn't live in Wintersville. They lived in Cross Creek or Island Creek townships, but Wintersville was where the school was located, hence the name. Does anyone have a problem with that? It should be noted that Wayne High School was destroyed by a board that figured Wayne Township citizens weren't even worthy of a bone.

People in Jefferson County are so used to mediocrity that they think what we have today is normal. Money is wasted in the public schools on a scale that is unimaginable.

If those consolidations had never happened, all six districts would have had new buildings long ago.

In this sad tale of wrong judgments formed by well-meaning and capable people, we now reach our climax. That we should all have come to this point makes those responsible, however honorable their motives, blameworthy before history. The biggest mistake was not admitting a tragic mistake had been made and attempting to correct it.

Give Jefferson County people the chance to have their own school boards and schools again. Doing this might just work, but that is what educators are afraid of.

Warner Sanders


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