Steady school enrollment a turning point

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 11, 2009

You have to reach the landing of the staircase before you can climb any higher.

And hopefully Natchez is standing on level ground.

For the first time this decade the Natchez-Adams School District is reporting no major drop in enrollment numbers.

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Ever since the closure of International Paper the local schools have seen enrollment drops. For the public schools the drops came at the rate of approximately 100 students a year for several years.

But, for the second year in a row, things appear to be stabilizing. Yes, stable, not growing.

Perhaps it is a bit of the “no news is good news” mentality, but we are willing to crawl before we walk.

Sure, we’d like to see enrollment numbers increasing. Full schools represent a growing community.

Six years after IP closed it is sometimes difficult to remember what a major part of our community the corporation was. But when we pause to think, it is obvious that the loss of IP was a major blow — a blow that has proved difficult from which to recover.

The school numbers show that our community has stopped losing residents. That is the first step to growth.

We’ve reached the landing, now we must have strong leadership, a clear plan and genuine faith that growth is just a few steps away.