A schoolyard squabble

Published 11:55 pm Friday, August 20, 2010

We think we have finally narrowed down the analogy that best describes the ongoing squabble between the Suffolk City Council and the Suffolk School Board.

Ever see two kids on a playground fighting over the same swing, one pushing the other and then the other retaliating? One of them gets their feelings hurt and then calls for their mother and runs for her comfort.

What this analogy proves is that both bodies — both popularly elected by Suffolk voters — have treated an important decision of where to put a new elementary school in a juvenile manner that both should be embarrassed about.


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On one day, the City Council offered a suggestion of where a new school should go, only to have the School Board dismiss the idea the very next day in their meeting.

On one day, the School Board provided legal precedent that selecting a school site falls within the decision-making realm of the School Board, only to have the council move ahead with stepping into the decision-making process anyway.

The decision on where to put a new elementary school — one that will eventually combine the school populations of Robertson Elementary School in Whaleyville and Southwestern Elementary School in Holland — has drawn on longer than some of the children who will attend the school have been alive.

There is no argument the decision to merge the schools was a correct move. It will save the school system money and afford the children who go to school there a quality facility to match their quality education.

But the actions of our elected leaders in this process have been disappointing. Neither body seems able to cooperate with the other.

It is time for this to come to an end quickly. While all of this childish behavior is going on, the condition of the two schools continues to worsen and the delicate sensibilities of all those involved becomes far too bruised.

It is unfortunate that a well-thought-out decision a year ago has turned political, using the education of our school children to garner favor in an election year, but that is what this process has come down to.

At this point, it is our hope that these two children will settle their argument and move on to more important issues.

Then again, if our elected leaders act like this on what appears to be an easy decision, maybe we should be a little worried on how they treat the harder issues.