Friday, December 20, 2013

EDITORIAL >> Don’t give up yet, Sherwood

Supporters of a Sherwood school district independent of the Pulaski County Special School District recently had their hopes dashed when the deal to end the desegregation case prevented the city from breaking away from the trouble-plagued Little Rock-based district. But Jacksonville residents, who have long fought for the split and are allowed to leave under the deal, would advise their southern neighbors to persevere, stay focused and they too will eventually succeed.

On Monday, the Sherwood City Council unanimously opposed the part of the deal that excludes their city from leaving PCSSD before it is declared desegregated. But the council did express its support for ending the decades-old desegregation suit that many view as having been a waste of money that hindered the district’s academics.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. will consider Sherwood’s plea to be allowed to breakaway. But the future of PCSSD is questionable if Jacksonville and Sherwood were to leave simultaneously. The financially struggling district might not survive the shock of losing a third of its student body and tax base.

On the other hand, the geographical composition of PCSSD never made much sense and dissolving it by incorporating with Little Rock and North Little Rock seems practical. It covers Mills Road in southern Little Rock to the far west of Little Rock’s Hwy. 10 area to Scott on the edge of the county this side of the river to the rural outskirts of Jacksonville. Those expansive boundaries have isolated administrators, who never really had much of a stake in the communities they were supposed to serve.

Local control will change that. Just look at the success of Cabot, Beebe and Lonoke, where new schools have been built every couple of years.

Don’t give up, Sherwood. Your day will come.