So far, one thing emerged from what has become the continuing John de la Howe saga: The school is in trouble, from a financial and management standpoint.
That much was learned since the state Inspector General released his report on the school's management last week. The school, situated in McCormick County, serves wayward youths. But the number of youths currently being served has itself gone wayward, driving the costs unacceptably high to roughly $87,000 per student — a figure that would make any public school superintendent jealous.
The report clearly outlines what is seen as poor management at the school. Specifically, the report is critical of the school's lack of monitoring itself and collecting any useful quantitative data. In short, there is little that reflects not only if the school is operating efficiently, but also whether it is having positive results relative to its mission.
Rather than be repelled by the report, rather than rallying the troops and hunkering down for a battle, the de la Howe board and leadership needs to take the information and determine whether it can bring itself out of an obvious slump and make improvements that will ultimately keep the school's doors open.
Having a long history of serving wayward children in and of itself is no reason to keep the school up and running, especially when it is operating at 47 percent capacity and, again, at such an astronomical per-student dollar amount. Plus, the school has been dogged for two years, 2011 and 2013, labeled as "at-risk."
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