Friday, August 24, 2012

EDITORIAL >> Back-to-shool enrollment up

Public schools resumed classes on Monday, and preliminary enrollment figures are encouraging.

Cabot reports an increase of about 200 from last year, while the Pulaski County Special School District reports 113 more students in Jacksonville and Sherwood.

These numbers could be a result of many things, but we are inclined to suspect PCSSD is benefiting from a public whose confidence has been boosted by the state’s takeover of the district that has seemed to be stuck in freefall for years.

Within a year under state control, Jacksonville High School has dramatically improved graduation and dropout rates, even test scores. The school’s fa├žade has been revamped with a modern entryway.

Principal Henry Anderson and Superintendent Dr. Jerry Guess deserve much of the credit, though the improvements would never have been possible without the dismissal of the incompetent school board, whose members have gone silent in shame.

Cabot’s enrollment figures may have been higher if not for PCSSD’s modest improvements, or they could be related to slower growth in Cabot. But with $29.5 million planned for construction projects this year, Cabot’s schools will no doubt remain a leader in education.

Lonoke also made gains in enrollment, and we have confidence that new Superintendent Suzanne Bailey will help the district to improve.

To all our area students and educators, hit the books and make us proud.