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Blame game will interfere with solutions for public pool

The residents of Sandy need to keep cool heads and open minds now that the Oregon Trail School District has signaled its intent to close the Olin Bignall Aquatic Center two years from now unless a new funding source is discovered.

It’s not too surprising that we are hearing complaints that the school district’s failure to adequately fund the pool has led to this predicament.

But it’s those arguments that will obscure the real issue and distract from the No. 1 question: How can this community come together to keep the pool open well into the future?

We sympathize with the Oregon Trail School District, and at the same time applaud the district for putting its priorities in the right place — education first.

This district — like all others across this state — is no stranger to larger class sizes and a reduced work force, the direct result of years of waning state funding amid the annual rise in the cost of doing business. It’s a system that forces the school district into difficult choices.

We also understand that the Sandy swimming pool is an important asset for fitness and recreation for young and old alike. We understand that countless young people have learned to swim in the pool, which certainly has protected lives. And we understand that the pool provides a safe alternative to swimming in the Sandy River.

Those are all excellent reasons for why this community needs to avoid finger-pointing, and instead come together in search of a solution that allows the pool to remain open.

Can the city of Sandy step in to operate the pool through its parks and recreation program? It’s too early to tell where that conversation will lead. But the city, like the school district, has limited resources.

Would voters of the Oregon Trail School District approve an operational levy that would be in addition to the cost of the school district’s $115 million bond?

Those are all questions that need to be researched and considered.

Thankfully, the school district has agreed to provide enough time to come up with a solid plan. But that time must not be squandered on complaining and blaming. The focus from this point forward must settle squarely on finding a solution.