Philipsburg-Osceola Area school board member unimpressed by new comprehensive plan

When is a plan not a plan? Apparently, when that isn’t what the state wants.

Philipsburg-Osceola school board member Jim Verbeck wouldn’t vote for the district’s comprehensive plan Tuesday.

“It’s a very nice report. It’s not a plan,” he said. “There are no measures, no controls, no ‘what we are going to do?’-type stuff.”

Superintendent Gregg Paladina accepted the critique but said there was little he could do about it.

Once upon a time, the comprehensive-plan process took months, sometimes more than a year, with consultants and meetings and many, many drafts.

Today, the state Department of Education has streamlined the giant essay question into a multiple-choice test in which districts assemble the plan online, choosing educational goals and objectives from pull-down menus much the same way someone would pick the size and color for a shirt bought from

That left Verbeck unhappy with the finished product.

“It’s too vague,” he said. “There is not one word about what we want to do.”

Paladina said the important parts that the district was able to craft were the vision and mission statements.

The old vision statement, “Learning for tomorrow ... today!” is being replaced with “Educating today ... responsible citizens tomorrow.”

The mission statement about lifelong learners is being tweaked as well.

The new mission statement says the mission of the district “is to provide a supportive educational environment to promote student learning through academic rigor, district partnerships and career-readiness programs for the development of responsible citizens in today’s world.”