Nevertheless, the board’s decision to close Anniston Middle School shouldn’t go without recognition. As this page has noted for some time, Anniston has withstood three decades of weak leadership and skittish decision-makers over the middle school’s fate. It is remarkably refreshing to see an elected board deliberate the facts and make a swift decision that’s grounded in logic, not emotion or ward politics.
This board deserves praise.
This board also deserves a reminder that two critical issues — the improvement of public education in Anniston and a stronger reorganization of the system’s schools — remain unsettled. This board’s task is hardly finished.
Superintendent Joan Frazier told The Star that the board’s approved plan isn’t “as aggressive as I would have initially recommended,” and she’s right. Even with the shuttering the middle school and moving most of those students to the Cobb campus, Anniston still has too few students for too many campuses. At least one elementary school will need to be closed to bring the system closer to its appropriate physical size.
Beyond property concerns, the district’s top mission is improving the quality of education.] Recent years have brought positive strides, particularly in the elementary schools, but overall the system still has a dropout rate, graduation rate and test scores that are unacceptable. Anniston’s children, and the city’s future, deserves better.
The city would owe the Anniston Board of Education a huge debt of gratitude if it could wisely address these larger and altogether vital points.