Dr. Thomas McInroy is the superintendent of schools for the Bellwood-Antis School District. McInroy is no stranger to public education, both as a classroom teacher and a school administrator in several districts over his lifelong career. Wednesday morning, McInroy sat down and provided a very candid discussion on his own personal views of some of the main issues facing public education today.
The first thing that was discussed was that there is an appropriate time and a place for funding. “We just received a grant as well as other schools in the area for $25,000 that we applied to having additional cameras installed to increase the safety of our students,” McInroy said.
“You never look a gift horse in the mouth, but I am not in favor of school safety and security funding being contingent upon getting those funds through grants. First of all, grants are extremely time consuming and difficult to write. In today’s smaller and rural schools there are not professional grant writers on staff. Nor is there the time available for someone in the district to write these grants as that would detract greatly from their primary objectives of educating our children. I am in favor of having this money budgeted and provided to schools and not through the grant process. In the past, the politicians have said that they need to have accountability. The school districts conduct audits every year and the state comes in every four years and conducts a detailed audit. That should provide the politicians the needed accountability,” McInroy said.
BASD has applied for a grant in the amount of $628,000 to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. According to McInroy, “This grant attempt is to secure the needed funds to get the door locks of all of the buildings updated. This is an extremely important part of the safety of our children in the schools. The amount of time, work, and paperwork involved in the application process is amazing. It seems that some of the politicians want to make the process more difficult while there are some some who want to cooperate. Let us say if there is a catastrophic incident at the school where a child is badly hurt or worse. Are we to go the the parent and say, ‘if we had better grant writers available this may have been prevented’? The manner in which this is being done currently, in my opinion, is pure politics and to make a point.”
In another area, McInroy pointed out the importance of addressing the mental health issues of parents and children.
“Coping skills of many parents and children of today really need a great deal of work. Today it appears that the lack of coping skills are the primary issues around the actions that have taken place throughout the country, causing such devastation and heartbreaks. The vast majority of parents are very supportive as well as some politicians,” McInroy added.
When it comes to education, McInroy also had some thoughts to share. “Costs today seem to have become everything. To many politicians today, money is power. In many areas, schools have become factories due to costs. The consolidation of schools is a perfect example as the smaller effective schools with more time for individual educational support are disappearing as more and more consolidation of school districts are happening,” McInroy shared.
“School funding has become so complicated it is amazing. We need to come up with a formulary that is fair and equitable. We as educators need to come up with the needs and then go and have the politicians listen to the experts in the field of education. We must educate them to exactly what the needs are. Just because someone wins an election, it does not make them an expert in the field of education,” McInroy stated.
In summation McInroy said, “There must be changes made so we can help make our students safer, and those changes are not in wasting money. We must want to get serious as a society and take a look at what we have done to ourselves. It will be tough to get society safer without some change. A good starting point to accomplish this would be to put our children first and teaching them right from wrong.”