By Sarah Merayo
I’m asking that you take a moment to support our effort out here in West Little Rock to campaign for the provision of secondary schools for the children of 50,000 people who live on this side of town.
If all of us with children were to try to send our kids to public middle or high school next Monday, there would not be enough room for them all. It has been over 30 years since a secondary school has been built in LR, and none past Barrow Road, where my zoned school of Henderson and the magnet school Parkview (with no attendance zone) reside.
There is a recommendation from a community member and activist that the district for which I work buy the empty Leisure Arts building on Cantrell in an effort to save the district money from having to build new facilities on the property that the district purchased last year, but has yet to be prepared or planned for actual construction. There is the usual rancor in the community from types like John Walker, Jim Ross, and others who accuse West Little Rock of being a “white” community that just wants “fancy” schools in its “white neighborhoods.”
Anyone who still thinks that West Little Rock is all white should take a walk through Roberts Elementary or a drive through my neighborhood. The time for this type of thinking is antiquated and long in need of abandoning if ALL of us want the best for this city, a city that loses young families every year to surrounding communities because people feel like they have no choices.
Please go to the link, and create/edit/sign and send a letter for OUR community. https://account.votility.com/enterprise/arkansaslearns/ec/130
And in my opinion, this is just a first step in growth and the addressing of many facilities needs throughout the city. Build it, and they will come – and so will the dollars that follow each enrolled student. Studies about this issue have shown that a school on this side of town will provide additional funds for other areas of the district. This is all without mention of the property taxes that this population pays to subsidize schools that don’t even exist in its boundaries. What is fair?