Roads, bridges, schools areas to spend extra money

Count us among those advocating that at least a portion of a projected budget surplus to improve the state’s roads and bridges and school security, which most people agree are areas that need attention.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder and other key legislative officials announced that spending and budgeting had created an unexpected surplus. Although exactly how much is unclear, certainly it’ll be in the range of several hundred million dollars or more.

In fact, increased school security was mentioned as a possible area of ramped-up spending, along with roads and bridges, before Friday’s deadly onslaught at a school in Texas, Now, lawmakers may want to take another, even harder look at that area.

We’ve long been on the record as supporting more road and bridge money. It is a basic function of government, we believe, to provide safe roads and bridges upon which to drive. More needs to be done and that takes cash — period.

The issue of school security is far more complex and it is entirely unclear how lawmakers may approach the matter.

More money would buy more armed security officers, but would that improve security? For instance, how many security officers would it take to make safe a high school the size of Marquette or Negaunee? And what about the local middle and elementary schools? Armed guards in those places, too?

Will one guard per building be enough or is one guard per doorway more like it? Or one guard per classroom?

None of these questions, and others like them, have easy answers, assuming school officials have all the money they might need to hire security officers, which, of course, they don’t.

We plan to monitor all of these issues closely, as should you, the reader. After all, these are your roads, your bridges and, most importantly, your schools.