Last year, Pulaski pulled the rug out from under Science Hill, limiting them to only the non-resident students already enrolled and their siblings, without being able to add any new ones. This year, that continued — and Somerset Independent Schools were given the same deal in their contract for the 2014-15 school year, passed at last week’s Pulaski County Board of Education meeting.
I don’t remember any such waiting lists from back in my day — then again, that was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we all carved our notes into stone tablets — but what that proves is that attending Science Hill and Somerset is something people still want to do. That, like my family, there are people who feel, for whatever reason, that attending school in one of those districts would be in their best interests. That where in the county they may happen to live shouldn’t be the key determining factor in their educational future.
I say it over and over again on this opinion page, but it never stops being true: Nothing is more important than freedom, no bedrock of our nation is greater. Anything that increases freedom and liberty is to be sought after and protected; anything that diminishes it or restrains it is to be rejected.
The parents who live in county territory but who want their children to attend Science Hill or Somerset now have less freedom, specifically freedom of choice. It’s as simple as that.
Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher said he felt like the district’s enrollment numbers were going “flat.” That they weren’t gaining more students. In fact, he said that last year, enrollment actually went down. The concern is that it could cost the district teachers and resources as a result.
That’s because the state gives the school a little bit short of $4,000 for each student that attends. So you could argue it’s a money issue. Get more students, get more money.