Speak up for your schools

Published 11:53 pm Sunday, May 12, 2024

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One hundred and forty is a low number of responses, even for a district with a shrinking population of around 2,700 students.

Natchez Adams School District has been publicizing and seeking public and stakeholder input on a reorganization plan that would structure our schools like they never have been before.

This plan puts students at grade-level-based schools across the district, which would result in households with multiple children likely sending each of their children to different schools.

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A benefit of this plan is that children would grow up together from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and would be less likely to face the challenges that are currently being faced at the middle school level.

Children from different communities who don’t know each other are currently being placed into one combined middle school where age and maturity level vary widely.

Undoubtedly there will be some kinks to work through with the drastic changes being proposed. But that is still better than the alternative — not having enough certified teachers to cover the classrooms in the district.

Imagine one elementary school having two certified math teachers and one not having anyone at the school who is certified to teach math at all. It would be unfair to the students at the school without a certified teacher, as they would potentially miss out on the quality instruction needed to pass state tests and be successful in upper grade levels.

This highlights the glaring issues that Natchez and other districts around the region are facing.

Our schools need more teachers.

This proposal of consolidating grade-levels and shifting students around may tip the scales to help students be successful next school year, but it isn’t a long-term solution to the real issue.

Teachers need competitive pay as well as school and community-based incentives so that qualified people will apply for those positions.

Public education needs to be adequately funded, and the powers who authorize funding for our schools are elected by us, the voters. There are also community-based issues, like lack of activities for children to do, that should be addressed at the local level.

The issue of not being able to hire enough people to work is not limited to education.

There are many other jobs in Adams County, like the public safety and food service industries, that no one will work because the pay is not as good as in the same job three counties over.

However, a community with good schools creates a positive ripple effect in the rest of the overall economy.

One thing that everyone looks for, including business developers, when they are deciding where to live, work and play is the quality of the public school system.

When our school district succeeds, our community succeeds. When it fails, so do we.

More than 140 people should care about that.

Everyone should care.