EDITORIAL: Get outside advice from financial pros

2013-03-06T00:00:00Z 2013-03-06T09:31:20Z EDITORIAL: Get outside advice from financial pros nwitimes.com
March 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As Lake Ridge School Corp. discusses ways to deal with a $1.7 million budget deficit next year, including closing an elementary school, the district is holding public forums to get residents' input.

The Lake Ridge School Board got an earful Feb. 25 when nearly 200 parents, teachers and residents showed up to voice opinions on closing an elementary school and privatizing maintenance and custodian services.

School officials have said closing an elementary school could save $267,000 in 2013 and $800,000 in 2014. The board hasn't picked the school to be closed, although it did vote on a resolution to close one of the schools.

Addressing crises is nothing new at Lake Ridge. The district also was innovative in switching the failing Calumet High School to the New Tech philosophy, a major paradigm shift for the district.

The cash-strapped district has already made some difficult but necessary decisions in the past few years. Lake Ridge has outsourced food service and transportation, and it switched to the state health insurance plan. The Ensweiler Alternative Academy was closed, and space rented to Head Start.

But property tax collections are far lower than expected, which is contributing to the current budget crunch. It's not the school district's fault.

So Lake Ridge is again facing some tough choices.

"These decisions will be based on facts and data, and will take into consideration input from the community," Superintendent Sharon Johnson-Shirley said. That's as it should be.

Community input is essential. But Lake Ridge should do more than just hold public hearings.

The district — all school districts, for that matter — would do well to follow the example set by Duneland School Corp., which is seeking the advice of a volunteer panel of corporate finance experts to analyze the budget and offer advice.

That outside review might bring new insights the school officials missed. If not, it could convince key community leaders that school officials haven't left any stones unturned.

It's a smart move for Duneland, and others should follow suit.

Lake Ridge, in the midst of a financial crisis, should embrace this idea quickly.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses

Submit a Letter to Editor

We welcome letters from readers on any issue of public interest, and make every effort to publish as many as we can and in a timely manner. The Times will publish only one letter a month from a writer, and be sure to include your name, address and a telephone number for verification. Letters should be 150 words or less. They will be edited.

Letters may be submitted:
  • Via our submission form.
  • Via e-mail.
  • Via fax: (219) 933-3249 or (219) 465-7298
  • Via mail or by hand to our offices:
    • 601 45th Ave., Munster, IN 46321
    • 2080 N. Main St., Crown Point, IN 46307
    • 1111 Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN 46383
    • 3410 Delta Dr., Portage, IN 46368
    • Please mark envelopes with "Attn: Letters"


Email Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross or call (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357



Who do you support for Porter County commissioner?

View Results