Tough decisions, idle talk

The discussions have been numerous. There have been meetings, surveys and a workshop.

Even though there has been so much talk, still it was a tough decision for the Escambia County Board of Education to make. At last Thursday’s meeting, the board voted to consolidate A.C. Moore Elementary with Rachel Patterson Elementary and Escambia County High School.

My purpose here is not to debate the right or wrong of that decision.

My purpose here is to challenge all of us to be informed about the decision.

Recently, I heard two people make statements the day after the vote – statements that were not based on fact, statements made in a public venue, statements that were probably taken as gospel by some people who heard them.

“Well, this is going to cause overcrowding at the middle school.”

Wrong. There is more than enough room at the middle school for the fourth grade class, just as there is plenty of room for the pre-k and third grade classes at Rachel Patterson.

“Well, this is just another empty building in Atmore. Remember the old junior high school and how many years it sat empty.”

Wrong. The City of Atmore and the YMCA have already expressed an interest in using the building. In fact, Mayor Jim Staff started talking about it a couple of months or so ago.

There will be enough adjustments and growth pains as it is. We don’t need to add to it with erroneous statements. I can’t help but think the people who made those comments have not read a local newspaper. They would know we have covered all these concerns over the past several months. In fact, that’s one reason I went into such depth with the article on the front page this week. Superintendent John Knott went through all the points – again – for the benefit of the board members, the audience and the media.

Got an opinion? Sure. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. I would only ask that you base your opinion on fact, especially in this case. Read. Be informed.