CF offers funds for study of schools

By The Paper staff

The Community Foundation of Wabash County has offered financial assistants to the county’s three school districts for a feasibility study on education in Wabash County.

The announcement, announced Friday, Jan. 6, came via a Jan. 3, 2017, letter from CF Board President Steve Hentgen and Executive Director Patty Grant.

“Public education in Wabash County faces some of the most complex and challenging issues of our time,” CF Vice President Josh Petruniw said, “and the Community Foundation has seen the breadth and complexities of those issues through its work within many programs in the community. The Foundation also has experienced first hand the value of research and reliable information for sound informed decision making.”

The letter invites the school systems to develop and present a joint funding proposal to bring in outside consultants who would use their expertise to study the many factors affecting education in Wabash County. The anticipated study could focus on school funding, personnel, programming, transportation, facilities, demographics, as well as the interests of stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, taxpayers, businesses, and the community at large.

“The Community Foundation claims no expertise in public school administration, nor does it anticipate any particular outcome,” Grant said. “The Foundation seeks only to provide financial and study resources to help the Wabash County school districts evaluate the current and future elements that shape the educational system in a changing economic world.”

“Consistent with our 2012 strategic plan that prioritized educational attainment, the Community Foundation offers to employ its position as neutral convener and grant maker to provide financial support not available through their state funded budgets,” Hentgen said.

“The Foundation embraces education as the principal driver of economic growth and opportunity and the means to lift more citizens from poverty to prosperity,” Grant said. “The future of Wabash County rests largely on the education of our children. We seek to be helpful.”

A feasibility study was first broached over the summer during public hearings on the state of education in the MSD of Wabash County school district. The meetings were scheduled prior to the board rescinding a vote on reorganizing the district, but took place after the vote to rescind. During the meeting, consolidation with the Wabash City Schools also was broached.

In September, the MSD board invited the superintendents and board presidents from Wabash and Manchester Community Schools to sit down and discuss consolidation. Wabash accepted the invitation, while late in 2017 the Manchester board declined.

Posted on 2017 Jan 10