Attention, Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart, City Council members and board members of Anniston City Schools: A lengthy period of civic procrastination must cease, and you are the ones to do it.
We’ve recently kicked off an editorial series on the location of the Anniston Middle School, its sordid history and the inability of local leaders to move forward with a new location for it. We call the series Anniston in the Middle. City leaders might prefer to call it a “cautionary tale.”
The location of Anniston Middle School was controversial 30 years ago. Today, moving the school is equally controversial. With the incentive to develop the school’s McClellan Boulevard property for retail use before us, the school board has been unable to find a solution that’s good for the city’s economy and its students.
This is a can that keeps getting kicked down the road.
Such as it ever was. Our early installments in the series point to numerous times when bold leadership was needed in making decisions, and in countless times our leadership failed us.
More importantly, this topic is about more than placement of a public school or the consolidation of a district’s properties to account for shrinking enrollment. We see a sad illustration of crucial moments when the city’s residents were let down because the smart decision, the right decision, the prudent decision evaded us.
We beg the city’s current leadership to avoid the trap that has ensnared so many of their predecessors.
Over the past 25 years, an army of middle-schoolers passed through the doors of the facility at 4800 McClellan Blvd. Over that same time, the city’s schools have been on a steady path of decline, something far more important than real estate.
A citizen might reasonably wonder: If the local schools can’t move the middle school as part of a wider consolidation, how in the world will we ever see dramatic improvements in academic performance?
And that’s why the city’s current elected leadership must engage. Now.
We can’t wait for more decades of indecision to pass.