Battle lines drawn in Ontario over schools

By John L. Braese

The Enterprise

ONTARIO – The state Education Board recently decided not to slow expansion at Four Rivers Community School, so ninth-graders at the charter school can now plan on graduating from the same school they have attended since first grade.

The high school freshmen – about 30 -- are at the center of an adult tug-of-war splitting two local schools and stirring attention at the highest levels of state government.

Currently, leaders of Four Rivers and Ontario School District seem to agree on only one issue – that students come first.

But big money is at stake in the simmering dispute -- money for each student attending a school, money from grants, money transferred from one budget account to another.

Top executives at the Education Department are playing peacemaker, leading mediation sessions with local school officials that so far have gone nowhere. More talks are planned . . .