Closing schools isn’t just about shifting demographics; it’s about tradeoff decisions on an ever-tightening school budget. At the recent Carmel Clay Schools forums, questions were asked about getting more financial support from the city. The standard response from our politicians, now and in the past, has been “we can’t do anything.” This is starkly different from their support of boundary-pushing amenity spending, which they term “placemaking.”
Where’s the innovative legal structure, financing and cost shifting that produced the $180 million Center for Performing Arts? Where’s the can-do spirit that defied independent experts and approved $18 million for a city-owned boutique hotel and dinner club? Where’s the moxie that set up a nonprofit, then shifted $8 million of city funds to run the Christkindlmarkt and Ice Rink? Where’s the compassionate conservatism that provided $10 million to renovate Brookshire Clubhouse because the mayor felt the course and neighborhood needed propping up? As the saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way.
If our politicians believe education is as important as amenities, let’s channel their ingenuity into creative solutions such as: 1) Giving block grants to CCS to support our young artists rather than giving millions to others for public art; 2) Setting up educational nonprofits and shifting city funds for innovative programs like Girls in STEM and to support students at risk; 3) Using city resources to support the physical plant of CCS, as has been done for the Center for Performing Arts and Christkindlmarkt; 4) Providing surplus tax increment financing funds for CCS, as was recently done by Indy for IPS. Our children and teachers need bold actions from our elected officials, not convenient excuses.
Tim Hannon MD, Carmel