School board’s plan deserves to be heard

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 1999

It’s pretty obvious that communication doesn’t require leadership. But conversely leadership does require communication. Unfortunately, we’ve seen little of either in the problem of school overcrowding and the Natchez-Adams School Board’s plan to eliminate it.

A 1989 federal lawsuit left the district operating under a court order to maintain racial equality. District officials want to change the way our schools are structured and reopen a school closed by the court order. The intent of the change is to alleviate the overcrowding in our schools.

For the court to go along with the changes, the district needs all four of the original plaintiffs to agree to it. If they don’t, and the district chooses to push forward with their plan, its only option is to spend taxpayers’ money on a court battle. And we’d certainly rather see our tax dollars spent in the classroom than in the courtroom.

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We’re disappointed that after weeks of discussion, school board members and plaintiffs in the lawsuit have still not managed to sit down and discuss the district’s plan to ease the overcrowding problem in our public school system.

What makes matters worse is that two of the plaintiffs in the original case are elected officials – state Rep. Phillip West, D-Natchez, and Natchez Alderman George &uot;Shake&uot; Harden.

We don’t expect the men, or the two other plaintiffs, simply to go along with any plan the school district comes up with. We do, however, wish the two sides could sit down publicly and discuss the proposed plan.

We can think of no good reason why this shouldn’t happen – soon.

Each day that we do nothing is another day in which our children are not receiving the best educational environment we can provide.

And our children deserve better.