OPINION COLUMNS

Stay involved: United parents promote needed sense of community

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 10, 2018
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Monday night a large group of parents filled the Chisholm Trail Middle School library to voice their concerns about the school and the possibility of seeing its enrollment cut by more than half next school year with the opening of Adams Middle School.

One after another, they expressed concerns about academics, programs, athletic teams and staffing on the smaller campus. They also worried about their students attending the equivalent of a 3A middle school before going east 17 miles to a 5A high school.

An elephant in the room was also brought up – the socioeconomics facing the schools in the western half of the school district as opposed to the eastern half, and how that might play out through suppport of the PTA and educational foundations.

Over two hours, the genuine concern of the parents was evident, along a general fondness for the Chisholm Trail school. It’s something that trustee Steve Sprowls recently pointed out in a board meeting, while unbuttoning his shirt to show off his Chisholm Trail undershirt. He called the sense of community at the school an example for the district’s other campuses to follow.

The issue of the attendance boundary and enrollment cut at the school has galvanized the voice of Chisholm Trail parents in the Rhome-Newark area and given them a platform for community involvement.

It’s involvement that is desperately needed in this region of Wise County. Digging through archives of the Messenger, turmoil has been the norm in the southern sector of Wise, with little collaboration over decades. Bickering over who is in leadership and trivial arguments has stymied growth and perhaps much-needed economic development. Northwest ISD trying to put in a transportation center in the area caused such a ruckus that they pulled out. And how long has Rhome been trying to put a storm siren in place?

Progress has been made in Newark with capital projects that will benefit citizens, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

To do that work and bring beneficial change, new, determined voices are needed. Voices like the ones brought forward by the boundary issue.

This can’t be the only thing to get behind. Joining city councils and planning and zoning committees, or attending meetings to get involved on projects, must follow to capitalize on the momentum. That momentum could then lead to economic development that will impact the schools positively.

The boundary issue will likely leave some parents frustrated and questioning their efforts as they may not get their way. But for their children’s future, their community and our county as a whole, they can’t let it stifle them. The southern sector is Wise County’s gateway to the rest of the Metroplex, and South Wise success will help dictate how the entire county grows.

Richard Greene is editor of the Wise County Messenger.

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