By W.H. WATERS
How do I begin to write about a subject that is so important yet so little understood by most of the previous writers on the subject? Maybe you will think I am just an addition to those, but it is my aim to shed knowledge from a long life of observing the actions of people.
What is the most important task of society for the welfare of our children? For this world it is to educate them so that they can function in an ever-changing society. The board of education and the superintendent (director) work to provide teachers and the physical facilities for the teachers to use in imparting knowledge to our children. Much more goes into the day-to-day operations but to inspire to learning one cannot have children piled one on top of another and get the job done. This is where we seem to be, but it is not the first time this has occurred for Lebanon High School.
I started at Lebanon High in the fall of 1937. This school was brand new, but it was filled to capacity on day one of its operation. In about 12 years, it was more than running over with pupils. A majority of the people were much against building the present Lebanon High. Mr. Cheney had defeated my father for superintendent. He was unsure how to get across to the people the great need of the times. My father had been defeated but the people knew he had run a balanced budget school system for the many years he had served. He asked Mr. Cheney if he would like for him to go on WCOR radio and explain to the people the real need. Mr. Cheney agreed and so it was advertised and he spoke of these needs to the people. It is said that the attitude did change and that the voters approved the new school handily.
This happened in days where leaders were valued and they could rise above the noise of the crowd.
I always knew my old high school was a jail and so it became in recent years.
The school board operates the schools with the superintendent (director). They have every responsibility but the job of appropriating money. Without this, the county court (commission) becomes a fly in the ointment. Many school boards do have the power to tax and of course are responsible to the people. Even so, they are ever aware of the needs of the students and really are better prepared to dare to do what is right educationally. We have a few members of the county commission who believe that education must be up to date and vital. We have more that are more rurally oriented and that cost is more important than what should be provided for our students. I don’t know a single member, but I can read and see who leads. You can say you know they need it, but when it does not come to fruition the second thought is that it can wait. Children do not wait. They just go on with less quality and then they suffer in life.
Why did the commission vote to have the wheel tax increase be voted on by the people? It was very predictable it would not pass. If strong leadership does not make the case it is seldom that this type of proposition will pass. I know the economy is bad, but this is not necessary the reason this failed.
Lebanon and Watertown are one part of a big county. Parents in the area might have carried the day, but they did not. The rest didn’t care at all and so it was.
It would be good if the commission stepped up and did what they should have done and spared us all the commotion.
I have no close kin in the Wilson County School System, but I value our children above dollars and cents.
Editor’s Note: Mr. W.H. Waters is a resident of Lebanon and a regular contributor to The Wilson Post.