Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Letters: Help our schools

To the editor:

I just read the Nov. 3 letter to the editor from a concerned parent regarding the situation in Jacksonville’s schools. The letter made some references to the Jacksonville World Class Education Organization and the recent report on the student enrollment numbers in the PCSSD. I encourage that parent to contact the Jacksonville WCEO to better understand its purpose.

The Jacksonville WCEO is an organization of concerned citizens and parents committed to a quality world-class educational environment for all of Jacksonville’s students.

The Jacksonville WCEO has been meeting and working for students in Jacksonville long before this report came out. That re-port was not a product of the Jacksonville WCEO; it was from the Arkansas Department of Education. Of the decline in enrollment in PCSSD, 190 students out of 361 left out of Jacksonville. That is 53 percent of the total district-wide loss. That is the most revealing number from the report. What the PCSSD is going to do about it should be the concern from the citizens of Jacksonville. It does not matter what color they are, we are losing students.

All Jacksonville schools are in trouble. Our building facilities are old and the majority of them need to be replaced completely. While Jacksonville is in the PCSSD we have no choice but to work with the district. Is it a realistic goal that PCSSD is going to replace all the schools in Jacksonville immediately? No. The Jacksonville WCEO decided that a focused effort on one project was the best way to get anything accomplished. We felt as a group that the middle schools were the best place to start. Both the boys and girls campuses need replacement. There are other school facilities in Jacksonville in worse shape, but they do not affect as many families in Jacksonville as the middle schools do.

When approached about the concept of gender specific schools, Jacksonville was promised a new multi-million dollar media center/cafeteria building that would have plans for expansion for classrooms for both the boys and girls to be built between the schools with readily available grant money. Architectural renderings were passed out, promises were made, and hopes were renewed.

The PCSSD failed to deliver once again. We have great administrators and teachers in those schools. They are doing a great job with what they have, but they deserve better. Jacksonville deserves better.

Daniel Gray
Jacksonville World Class Education Organization