What a mess. By 145 votes out of 4,245, school district voters defeated a bond issue. But maybe it’s not an irretrievable mess. It might, if we are wise, cause us to find common ground.

I know. I know. It probably sounds like Pollyanna politics to those who worked long and hard to plan, package, and present the bond proposal. You likely feel the loss deeply. And those of you who won may feel giddy, having blocked the plan. Check and check. But from the perspective of one whose face has sometimes been marked by post-election tire tracks, after a shot of whiskey or a cup of the blackest coffee — or both, we need to offer congratulations to the team that won and get ready to move on. Self-pity is not a good long term address.

Here’s a consoling reality: this election changed nothing about who we are as a community. We still share far more than we don’t. We still have no answer on how to meet our kids’ future educational needs. And we still want them to taught well enough to behave in pubic, drive safely on the road, and get jobs paying enough for them to move out of the house.

Our community resources remain intact. It’s just that we now have Saturday’s direction on how not to spend them. Our options have been reduced, as Churchill would say, by the worst form of government except for all the others, self-government. So, however chastened by the loss, hard-working bond advocates know that you have the potential assistance of my friend, Don Bailey, who has offered to help frame a more cost-efficient plan next time. He and I were on opposite sides Saturday. But Don and his allies are smart and dedicated to a sharp-pencil calculation of value-for-money in meeting future educational needs. They want those needs met responsibly and efficiently, as our community continues to grow. We all do.

As Sherman parents and grandparents, we walk the same ground, breathe the same air, and populate the same schools. Let’s not let grass grow under our feet. Plenty of communities to our south have figured out how to work together to present North Texas businesses with excellent schools for their employees’ children. Can we not find common purpose in doing the same? Saturday encourages us to answer that question together.

Roger D. Sanders