The Manchester Proud group is getting closer to presenting a plan in the new year that it hopes will put the city’s pubic education on a successful strategic path. With a new school superintendent in place and new school board members coming on board, the timing is good.

At a recent school board presentation, the group laid out several areas of concentration and sought board and public input on them. That buy-in is going to be key to success.

Board vice chair Arthur Beaudry made the important point that cost has to be addressed in any plan. That would be not only cost estimates for each component, but ways and means to pay for them. There was discussion of some sort of foundation that might be formed to help with this.

That’s worth pursuing, provided that any foundation that uses public funds needs to come under the Right-to-Know law.

Better tracking of students, including attendance, behavior, and course completion, was recommended. That’s important. (Perhaps the Proud group could also track teacher attendance. It seems a tad low these days.)

There is also talk of creating magnet schools. That, too, is worth a good look. But one of the reasons cited was to bring back students who now attend charter schools.

Manchester Proud and the city need to understand that charter schools are not the enemy.

They can be a spark that forces the school system to be more competitive, offering different learning models, not all of which need more public funds to succeed.