Find a way to keep schools open

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sometimes it’s about more than just dollars. The situation regarding the future of Southwestern and Robertson elementary schools is such a time.

On Thursday the Suffolk School Board approved a $267-million, 10-year capital improvement plan that call for replacing Southwestern Elementary in Holland and Robertson Elementary in Whaleyville, with a single school.

This school, like so many others in Suffolk. Would apparently be located somewhere in the middle of nowhere between the two schools, discouraging parent participation and community input in general.

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The City of Suffolk is in the 7th year of a comprehensive plan to revitalize the various villages and neighborhoods of our city. Tremendous progress has been made and closing these two schools would effectively end that effort in Whaleyville and Holland.

City Council can’t let that happen.

Schools need to be located in population centers, not the suburbs, or somewhere out in the woods, which is apparently the thinking here. This reduces the traffic on our roads, conserves gasoline, and provides the community or neighborhood with a hub.

The only remotely compelling argument for shutting down these schools in money. That reason pales in the face of what could happen to progress in Holland and Whaleyville. The Board and City Council need to open up a dialogue to find a way to avoid it.