By Jimmy Rogers • Guest Columnist
If Central Elementary in Waynesville is forced to close because of budget cuts and losing enrollment to charter schools, Haywood County will know who to thank — politicians like Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, who have voted time and time again for budgets that shortchange our public schools in order to keep tax breaks for folks at the top.
By John Sanderson • Guest Columnist
I have hesitated to make a comment about this issue, because I know personally most of the people who will be involved in making a decision about closing Central Elementary School, and I do not wish to offend or unfairly criticize any of those who bear the heavy burden of making a decision in this matter. But I was the principal at Central Elementary School for 17 genuinely wonderful years until I retired in 2008, and I have an emotional connection to this school and the families Central has served so well for so many years. I do feel a need, therefore, to offer a few thoughts about the possible closing of Central Elementary.
Many of the speakers at a public hearing on whether to close Central Elementary School in Waynesville urged Haywood County School board members to think outside the box and find another way to solve the budget shortfall.
Central Elementary School has become a rallying cry for advocates of public education across the state.
Waynesville’s youngest public demonstrators — along with their parents and teachers — took to the streets last week to show their love for Central Elementary School, a Waynesville institution that could shut down to as a result of a massive budget shortfall facing the school system.
The imminent closing of Central Elementary School in Waynesville is fueling heated debate on many fronts. A small school in many ways is like a sun around which the lives of children, families, teachers, cafeteria workers and a community orbit, a center that brings purposeful togetherness to an otherwise random group of people.
That’s the human element, and most of those in that orbit are hurting badly right now. But a school is also an arm of government that is paid for by our tax dollars. That money should be spent wisely. Central is very small and losing more students each year, the economies of scale tipping out of balance as children move to other schools, as families decide to home school or go to a charter school, as kids age up and go to middle school and fewer elementary age families move into the district.
The potential closing of Central Elementary School in Waynesville due to a massive, sudden budget shortfall for Haywood County Schools has unleashed a maelstrom of emotions in the community since the news broke two weeks ago.
A feasibility report on the potential closure of Central Elementary School in Waynesville was released by Haywood County Schools last week.
Jackson County Public Schools wants more than $12 million for improvements to its facilities through 2020, but despite the big number, the requests are pretty basic, Superintendent Mike Murray told commissioners last week.
Alert: A public meeting on the possible closure of Central Elementary School has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday due to concerns over lingering hazardous road conditions. The new meeting time is 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
The potential closure of an elementary school in Haywood County has become a poster child for those decrying funding cuts faced by traditional public schools.