Opposed to closing McKinney

Published 1:51 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

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Dear Editor, Members of the Lincoln County Board of Education, and Others Whom It May Concern,

It has been an ongoing trend, both in the commonwealth and here in Lincoln County, to consolidate education to fewer and fewer schools in a more centralized location. Lincoln County took the leap in 1974 to consolidate the county’s many high schools into one at its present location in Stanford, now known as Lincoln County High School, which will soon celebrate its 45th graduating class.

As a 2014 graduate of Lincoln County High School, a member of the 40th graduating class — it’s Ruby Jubilee — I can attest that I received a quality education. I went on to be in the 153rd graduating class at the University of Kentucky, and I am now a candidate for a Jurist Doctorate.

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I attended elementary school at Kings Mountain Elementary School, which was closed at the conclusion of the 2006 school year. That decision left me completing my primary education as a new student, displaced from my normal routine, at a new school. These effects are not conducive to a formative education — but I was fortunate to have a strong family support network which insured my successes as a student. For many of my colleagues this was not the case.

In poor, rural communities such as the one in which we live here in Lincoln County, counties where the school system is the largest employer, schools and public education are the life-blood of our communities. A school is a sense of identity, it is a sense of togetherness, and it is a foundation of success for those who desire to expand their horizons, broaden their world view, and climb that steep ladder to success.

The decision to close McKinney Elementary School — especially without representation on the board of education — will have ripple effects far beyond the closure of a brick building. A boarding up of a dried up community will worsen, the county’s most vulnerable students will be disenfranchised, and the current struggles with education will be exacerbated. All in the name of what? Saving a dollar? Fulfilling the goal of a superintendent not from Lincoln county, who doesn’t understand this county? What material benefit is there in closing a school beyond dollars and cents?

I, for one, stand with the students, parents, and yes, taxpayers, of the McKinney area. It is time that the stakeholders determine their future, receive the equity to which they are entitled as taxpayers, and to be considered as worthy of a quality education.

Chance C. Bender