There is no quick answer to the dilemma brought to the Fredonia Board of Education recently. Should the district allow two Westfield Academy and Central School students to participate on the district's indoor track team?
While many questions remain regarding numbers and potential costs, there were two comments made during the discussion that stood out in our eyes. Board member Tom Hawk saw the issue as an "opportunity" for students. "This is for the kids," he said. "That's who we're here for."
In opposition, board member Edith Byrne called Hawk's statement an "emotional argument," later noting, "I'm here for the taxpayers too."
That is where we shook our heads.
Schools - even before the major economic crisis of 2008 - are below an even mediocre record when it comes to controlling costs for area taxpayers. Byrne, we believe, already knows this. The longtime board member and area tax increaser for more than a decade has been involved in financial decisions at the district since 1999. So we do question her statement of being "here for the taxpayers."
Hawk, in the meantime, has been a strong merger advocate and is looking at the bigger picture. If Fredonia picks up two Westfield athletes - at no cost - it could help in future relations with neighboring school districts as economic times will continue to get tougher.
Continuing to draw a divide if there is little or no cost involved does not help matters or "taxpayers." We need to find ways to work together.
Maybe this is one way. Adding two Westfield students to a Fredonia team could provide a win for two local school districts, not just one. And winning changes everything.