By Charles Cotten Odessa

I watched the news last night and then read the OA article this morning about the school board vote proposing a higher tax rate with some dismay. There is an old commercial that said, “Pay me now or pay me later”

There is also an old axiom called, “kicking the can down the road: The time has come when the can can’t be kicked any further and it is time to pay up. I don’t pretend to understand school financing and I am not sure those in charge understand it either, but all you have to do is go and visit the schools and talk to the employees to know that something has to be done. The school board and the district have done a poor job of educating the public on the needs.

I have a friend who is a retired teacher with the district who constantly laments that “Little Johnny can’t read” and he lays the problem at the feet of the administration and the uneven distribution of resources and the touting of a few programs that operate at the expense of everyone else.

As a member of the newly formed advisory committee for bond election, I was shocked to see the conditions of some of the schools and then to be shown a facilities report that is 164 pages of needs in three categories and how many of the needs we were shown are in the third category that right now won’t be addressed for years even with a bond because we need more schools to handle the growth.

Everyone talks about wanting the best for our kids, but as a leadership educator for 40 years, one of the guiding principles of leadership is action defines who we are. It is time to take action. The school board and the administration need to do a concerted effort to educate the public on what the needs truly are for both the TRE and the bond election and the parents of children in the system need to become involved advocating for their children. Pay for it now or pay for it later. But if later, at what cost? Do you really want the state dictating how you will educate your children?