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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

R-6 Board faced tough decision

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sikeston School Board decision this week to close the Morehouse Elementary School produced no winners. But given the options, I suspect the eventual outcome was in the cards long ago.

I can fully understand the hurt expressed by the countless Morehouse residents over the loss of this important community ingredient. Even forgetting the recent floods that ravaged Morehouse, the school closing is a critical blow to a small community. But the reality is that we cannot forget the flood and this week's news only adds to the misery that is felt by many Morehouse residents.

But the School Board tried to set emotions aside and make a practical decision based on economics and the realities that this school district must face. I am neither surprised by the vote outcome nor the disappointment expressed by Morehouse residents.

Morehouse is a strong, proud community that will survive both the flood and this week's decision. But the face of the community is likely to change because of these two events. That too is a reality.

Had I a student in that school, I too would have fought long and hard against the closure. And Morehouse residents are to be commended for their calm yet passionate concern about the school's future. Urban areas facing similar circumstances have allowed the discussion to erupt in chaos, bitterness and harsh rhetoric that helps no one.

But Morehouse is different. Rural areas are different. And the character of Morehouse residents is far different from their counterparts in urban settings.

I suspect this drama is not yet over. There is discussion among some in Morehouse to move the school into the Richland school district and thereby save their local school facility. I know too little about this effort to make a reasoned comment. Like everyone else, I'll simply watch as the weeks unfold to see the outcome.

Despite your personal position on this emotional vote, the School Board members here are to be commended for their dedication to the welfare of all students in this school district. It clearly takes guts to sit in front of a massive crowd and say the words that crowd does not want to hear.

School Board members often perform the important and thankless task of making these critical decisions. I know they do not take those decisions lightly.

Though it may not now seem so, eventually the decision will be reluctantly accepted and life will return to normal. Change is inevitable - though often painful.

And in today's society, change is about the only thing that is certain.

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen