Setting Priorities For Public Schools

Fans of high school baseball and softball in Martins Ferry may have been looking forward to the city school district’s plan to upgrade fields used for the two sports. Unfortunately, that idea may have struck out.

During their meeting last week, Martins Ferry Board of Education members were told of serious problems with water leaks in elementary, middle and high school buildings. Some of it involves leaking waterlines and sprinkler systems.

The leaks themselves appear to be the result of improperly constructed roofs at the schools, Superintendent Jim Fogle explained. And, he added, “We’ve had several issues with Mother Nature as far as the leaks from the rain, storms, ice.”

Correcting those problems will be expensive. That prompted board members to put plans for the baseball and softball fields on hold. Decisions on how or even whether to proceed will be made during the next few weeks.

Board members are right to shelve the athletic fields project, at least temporarily. Perhaps it can be undertaken at a later date.

For now, however, preventing additional damage from the water leaks and ensuring schools are usable for their primary purpose — educating Martins Ferry children — has to take priority over other nonessential expenditures.