The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 22, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, Feb. 22, 2013

MBHS deserves a sensible solution

Is it being “progressive or regressive” for a board of education to propose closing its only successful high school without considering total county needs?

An established, common sense concept in operating rural public schools is to locate them within population concentrations and to take full advantage of mutually beneficial “blurring” of county lines. The establishment of Meadow Bridge High School and its continued success epitomizes this regional approach.

Prior to 1925, with no high school, the children of the isolated Meadow Bridge region could not receive more than an eighth-grade education. This region encompasses the area from Prince, on the New River, north to Babcock Park, east to Rainelle on the edge of Greenbrier County, south to Green Sulphur Springs, in the edge of Summers County, and back west to the river. Essentially no regarding of roads has occurred in that region since the 1940s — think about the effects of 74 years of neglected infrastructure development.

In my view, closing Meadow Bridge High School is terribly regressive thinking. Today, enthusiastic students arrive in Meadow Bridge from an approximate one-third the land area of Fayette County. Knowing that 70-75 percent of all county taxes paid are allocated to schools, will thinking voters ever support bond issues or 100 percent excess levies that propose closing their successful school and busing their children an extra 50-75 miles per day over dangerous roads?

Is it either fair or sensible to crush the remarkable pride and success of the Meadow Bridge region; will it increase graduation rates; will it increase ACT scores or parent-teacher-community involvement; will it decrease drug and disciplinary problems; will it increase participation in school activities?

Thank you, West Virginia State Board of Education, for directing your Fayette County Board of Education to take an additional year to find a sensible, pragmatic solution that affords this isolated region the justice it received when Meadow Bridge High School was first established. To close it would return the region to pre-1925 status.

Franklin D. Groves