If the first meeting of the McCormick School District Blue Ribbon Commission indicates what we can expect in the following months, residents will be satisfied with their work. Not everyone will agree with the commission's recommendations (when they are made), but what I saw was a serious approach to a serious matter.
Of 32 commission members selected, 24 managed to attend a meeting that was was part organizational and part exploratory. They sought to define goals and how to meet objectives.
Given the commission's size and the task, it's evident that these issues will be revisited ... School facilities are the commission's primary concern, although there are other interrelated issues which will also affect the quality of education in the county ...
Early in the meeting, the question of open meetings was raised. The county superintendent of schools all commission meetings, including committees and subcommittees, would be open to the public. Commission member and Mayor Miriam Patterson backed the superintendent up. The commission's success will depend on its credibility with residents.
Most commissioners want public input, but they realize the process has to be managed to the mutual benefit of the commission and residents. My impression is that whatever procedure is put in place will be the best that circumstances permit.
The commission's task is daunting and I sensed no strong preconceived conclusions. John Spence has taken on the difficult task of moderator and in his first meeting he successfully kept everything on track. His overall approach will be to help the commission to build consensus...
Finally, all of us who have thought about what it will take to improve the quality of education in McCormick will have no excuses if we don't meet with the commission. They can't do their work without our participation.
Michael J. MacDonald, McCormick