2035 Strategic plan – Education

I am following the 2035 Strategic Plan very closely and in reading Clarion’s Foundation Report Phase 1 Setting Direction I think the Four Main Themes are about right.
•Regional and Local Economic Development
•Fiscal Health, Efficiency, and Sustainability
•Infrastructure, Facilities, and Services
•Community Character
There is one additional theme Education -Public K-12 and Higher education / workforce development that was also raised as a critical strategic planning topic to be included in the Strategic Plan. The question of whether or not the Strategic Plan will include goals and actions for policy areas which the County has a limited role will be explored at the February 9 Board of Supervisors work session.
I can not think of a better more neutral place than the 2035 Strategic Plan to have an inclusive conversation about the county’s future goals and actions for policy. Not including Education Public K-12 and Higher education / workforce development diminishes the likely hood of county citizens  developing a consensus on  “What” our priorities are and “When” we can afford to bring them to fruition over the next 20 years.
 My sensing is the 2017-18 Biennial Budget deliberation over the next few months will focus on issues like the need for a 4th Middle school and the increasing  annual core operating expense increases, averaging 4% per year over the next five years. At the same time, we will see additional VRS contributions above projected levels, virtually flat state revenues, and county revenue projections of only 2.5% in its five-year projections compounding the issue. Whatever the decisions are, they will be short term in nature
The WJCC’s fiscal crisis is now and soon to become the county’s crisis. Including Education -Public K-12 and Higher education / workforce development as the fifth main theme  allows for a comprehensive identification of specific steps needed to implement the future vision in the County’s 2035 Strategic Plan of which Education is key to our future. It offers the possibility of a long term plan.

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