Recently, East Allen County Schools (“EACS”) held three special meetings in Adams Township to discuss future building and maintenance plans.  I attended all three of these meetings, and have attended many other board meetings over the last two years.

I would like to commend Doug Roemer for his excellence in explaining the details of the work needed to be done at all East Allen County schools.  His delivery of the information was straightforward and completely transparent, both areas with which the current Board and Superintendent appear to struggle.  It is clear that Mr. Roemer and his staff do an excellent job and truly care about EACS.  He and others like him should be the ones selling the building improvement process.  More than the question of what needs to be done to the buildings, we need to look at how we sell it to the taxpayers.

Much discussion at these special meetings as well as at recent board meetings has focused on:  “What do we do to get people to show up?”  “What do we do to get people involved?”  “What do people want?”  The truth is, people have shown up in the past, people have gotten involved and people have spoken up!  The administration and the Board just don’t listen!

During one meeting a current board member continually referred to residents of Adams Township as “those people” and “those guys.”  The challenges at EACS are not an Adams Township problem, they are an EACS problem and all residents of the EACS district are “those people.”

Current board member, Richard Allgeier, suggested that “maybe we need to give it a rest, maybe people are just tired of it.”  While I believe Mr. Allegeier’s comment is true in part, as a member of the EACS community, I sincerely hope its residents will actively participate in the decision-making process.  I was involved as the marketing agent for Van Wert City Schools; it took them three votes and over 5 years to get their new school.  But they ultimately accomplished their goal by bringing the community together, not by dividing it.

The current EACS Board professes to care and want to hear from “us,” but then create arbitrary rules including a three minute speaking limit, barring addressing any one board member and requiring that only the topic at hand be addressed.  The arrogance of these guidelines is enough to make a seasoned politician balk.

I believe we can make East Allen County Schools the school district it once was, but it will take earnest listening on the part of the Board and administration and very tough decision-making by all stakeholders.

Bob Nelson

New Haven, IN

POSTED: 10/09/12 at 8:40 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions