North end should lobby for K-8 facility
To the editor:
The article in Sunday's, March 4th, 2001 edition of The Atmore Advance titled "Alternatives for schools proposed" was strictly my opinion. At my request, Sherry Digmon sat down with me and allowed me an opportunity to discuss what I thought would be best for our community schools given the present circumstances.
My children are 5th generation members of the communities which establish both Bratt Elementary and Ernest Ward Middle Schools. My concern is for our children today, as well as future generations. The figures that I use to make my assessment come from the basic operating cost plus the cost for support personnel (excluding teachers) at each school given to me by the district's public relations person. I would fight and die, and will teach my sons to do the same, to protect everyone's right to voice their opinion on this or any other matter of significance, whether they agree with my views or not. In return, I expect anyone with a differing view to step forward with an alternate plan and be willing to live with the outcome.
Sherry stated in the article what I have said from day one of this debate, "When I look at the sentimental side, the idealistic side, it would be exactly the way it is today." However, realistically I know that tough choices have to be made. Therefore I conclude we should lobby for the facilities that we need to support a K-8 community school at the Ernest Ward Middle site and move forward with the "Grade A" education that our children are privileged to have now at Bratt and Ernest Ward.
Many people in the community know the importance of having a solid start at the elementary school level. Most folks realize that our children grow beyond those elementary school years. Until the recent budgetary concerns, we have been able to keep the impact of the transition minimal from elementary to middle school.
I do not think that it is appropriate for any 11- to 14-year-old children to attend middle school on a high school campus with 15- to 18-year-old students. Children between the ages of 11 to 14 are highly impressionable. Anyone who supports having 11- to 14-year-old children attend school with 15- to 18-year-old high school students versus a properly designed community K-8 school, should make their proposals known publicly. Then the community at large can commit to what we choose as best for our children.
C. Alan Lowery
3740 O'Farrell Road
Bratt, FL 32535