We suspect there was a communal groan Tuesday morning when the headline was read that the Warren County School Board had agreed to borrow $16 million for improvements to Beaty-Warren Middle School.
We joined in the chorus.
Borrowing millions of dollars when you have just had to slice $5 million from an already tight budget, cutting teachers and programs in the process, just seems like a counter-intuitive decision.
The problem is that the board finds itself in a position with no reasonable - read that, fiscally prudent - alternative to improvements at Beaty.
You might ask: Why not close Beaty and send those students to other buildings by shuffling grades among buildings with excess capacity to better utilize existing space? On its face, that sounds like a reasonable question, and one where the answers might show a path to avoid this additional debt.
However, the answers would have to take into consideration Beaty's unique position in the district. Geographically it is located smack in the center of its highest concentration of students, thus requiring the least transportation costs for its size of perhaps any school in the district. It has the fourth highest student population of any school in the district, higher even than two of the district's high schools which have more grade levels.
Beaty may be old and somewhat decrepit, but one can effectively argue replacing it with something that can handle its current load could be far more expensive than what is planned for the QZAB loan.
In the end, we're still uncomfortable with this bitter pill. However, we applaud members of the school board who voted on either side of the Beaty issue. We know that for some of them the decision did not come easy, and we appreciate their work.