Selma deserves new high school

Published 12:23 am Friday, August 6, 2010

Dear editor,
Do the students of the Selma City Schools need a new high school? Yes they do!  Should we build this center of excellence so as to give our students every possible chance of success? Yes we should! Could this new building be a beacon of hope for our city and point of pride? Yes it can!
The reality of this is our students need it and Selma needs it.  The citizens of our fair city should insist that we build it and should demand that the Selma City School Board make the changes necessary to make this happen. It is difficult to understand how the employees in the central office can work from a new high tech building while the students in their backyard are sentenced to an outdated building crumbling around them.  How does the over-staffed central office tell the students in our system that they are more important than the students that they should be serving?  These are questions I am asking and so should every tax-paying citizen of Selma.
The solution to the new high school dilemma is simple.  Let’s find the savings in our current system. The citizens of Selma voted to give the public schools in our fair city additional funds not too long ago.  These funds are not being spent on a new building; but, rather are going to an over staffed central office and keeping too many elementary schools open.
The facts are as follows:
We need to close two schools in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.  Study after study has identified these schools.  Our elementary schools are significantly under-utilized and the students could be easily moved with minimal disruption.  The reports have been available to the school board for several years and recommendations have been made by the state school board, consultants hired by the past local boards, past superintendents and teacher focus groups. This process should have been started for this school year; but, a superintendent on his way out the door did not make the recommendation.  His motivation for this lack of action baffles me to this day.
Next, we need to evaluate every employee in the central office. In these difficult financial times every industry including the public sector has to find ways to be more efficient with less expenses.  We need to review the functionality and efficiency of every central office employee.  While it is always difficult to make these decisions we have to ask ourselves what is most important.  My answer is the education of our children.
Recently, it was reported that many of our schools did not meet minimum standards including the students of Selma High.  This was not on the agenda at the recent board meeting.  Quite frankly, I was surprised as our mission is not to meet minimums to but to excel.  The children of Selma have as much capacity for learning and in my opinion a greater need so as to overcome the rural challenges and have a bright future.  The citizens of Selma voted for an elected school board in hopes of change; but, instead are receiving more of the same bloated bureaucracy.
Send a message to the Selma City School Board to shape up its own house before adding taxes to yours.  Let’s trim the fat and make sure our students are fed the knowledge they deserve in surroundings that are conducive to learning.  Don’t they deserve that? Yes they do!
J. Holland Powell

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