Our opinion: Spread the gesture

It was a very nice gesture for the Warren County School Board to rent the Library Theatre in Warren for music and choral students at Eisenhower High School to hold their spring concerts while their own facilities are being re-worked.

Despite other school district venues available for the concerts, the board thought it would be a treat worth the $1,100 to put them on a professional stage.

Some members of the board saw it differently and voted against the rental, apparently believing that in these times of tight budgets the school district shouldn’t be renting facilities when adequate venues are available essentially for free.

But, $1,100 is a fly speck on a budget of more than $65 million. Why, it’s not even a month’s worth of stipend for one of the four people picking up the slack from the loss of the district’s superintendent.

So, there are two ways to look at the board’s action:

1. It’s a waste of money when the school district shouldn’t be wasting money, just as renting Russell Diethrick Park in Jamestown for a high school baseball team would be a waste when there are adequate diamonds available for use at virtually no cost. And, does this set a precedent applicable to other schools in the district, whose bands and choruses would like the opportunity to perform on a professional stage?

2. It’s an opportunity that will mean a lot to the students involved, and the district should take advantage of it.

We’ll apply both views and say that it’s not the most frugal decision the school board has made -yet not nearly as wasteful as some – but we’ll also agree that it’s a nice opportunity for the students, although there are other programs outside of the school system that can put them on the same stage without the expenditure of tax dollars.

We’ll also agree that the board may have set a precedent, and we should expect that the board will come up with a way to provide theater time to the musical departments in the other three high schools, perhaps not every year, but maybe on a rotating basis.

At this point the die is cast, and it would be bad form and a disappointment to the students to renege on the board’s promise.