Some residents are so worried about the futures of Huntington Christian School and Brethren Christian Junior/Senior High School that they’re even throwing the “R” word around. That’s “R” as in “Recall.” As in the school board members need to worry about their jobs.
It’s not surprising. The conspiracy theories probably kicked into high gear when the school board initially had a discussion about requests for proposals for the property on their agenda and then snatched it back so they could talk about it in private.
Were they wrong to do that? No, not really. Elected leaders must discuss real estate transactions in private because it could hurt their negotiations. Fetching a bad price for the land wouldn’t serve the taxpayers either.
Still, school officials need to respond to this outpouring of concern. They would do well to hold some sort of special town hall meeting just devoted to this topic. If they can’t answer some questions then so be it. They’ll just have to explain why to residents. But it would also be an opportunity to better communicate with their constituents. Don’t wait until the Oct. 30 study session. That’s likely to feature scores of residents lining up at the microphone to say essentially the same thing, only to maybe hear school board members address those questions and concerns in general terms later after they’ve discussed the requests for proposals among themselves.
In any event, school board members must ask themselves this question: Is this worth it? Be sure to consider what you get out of selling that property. Is it so valuable that you’re OK with upsetting so many of your constituents? This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if opinions were divided but the overwhelming majority of opinions we’ve read and heard are against the sale of the properties. And we’re pretty sure opinion would be a lot more divided if parents knew that some of the profits would go back into the classrooms.
So tread carefully, board members. And be sure you’re doing the right thing. The wrath of angry voters can be withering.