The what-ifs of a school
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Apr 18, 2013 | 4961 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston in the Middle — Fourth in an occasional series

When it comes to Anniston Middle School, the what-if game is like playing tic-tac-toe. It’s easy — if done correctly — and the result always is the same. No one wins.

Nevertheless, let’s play.

• What if the City Council had approved a 1-cent sales tax increase in 1982 and adopted the Board of Education’s plan for two middle schools (neither of which would have been on Alabama 21 adjacent to Fort McClellan)?

Anniston in the Middle - View all articles in our series

• What if local decision-makers and residents had embraced a Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce recommendation for the consolidation of the Anniston and county public school systems?

• What if the Calhoun County Board of Education, on the same day Anniston’s City Council vetoed the 1-cent sales-tax increase in 1982, hadn’t unanimously passed a resolution stating its strong opposition to a merger?

• What if former Board of Education Superintendent J.V. Sailors had not selected the site on Alabama 21 for the middle school in the mid-1980s?

• What if the Board of Education and the City Council, in 1997, had run with the advice of a state Board of Education consultant and closed Anniston High School, made the middle school the high school and reconfigured the entire system and central office location?

• What if construction estimates for new classrooms had not come in more than $400,000 over budget in 2000? Would the Board of Education had stuck with its plan to close the middle school?

• What if the previous school board had approved the recommendations of Superintendent Joan Frazier, which included closing the middle school?

As you can see, a lengthy procession of movers and shakers in Anniston has had opportunities to address the city’s ailment of having too many facilities for too few students and a middle school in an undesirable location.

This dearth of decision-making is endemic of a city that has struggled producing the intestinal fortitude needed to adopt difficult-yet-imperative positions. When it comes to Anniston’s schools, that must change — now.
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