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Eastside residents need to quit making it personal

By   /   February 5, 2013  /   Comments

Last night, there was the first of two hearings about proposed school closings.  Unsurprisingly, there was some vocal opposition.  There were calls for more “balance” in the plan, since more than one of the three schools being talked about are located in East Albany.  There was even someone complaining about how that part of town has lost a bank, a grocery store, and now faces losing two schools.  What folks need to understand is that this isn’t some personal slight.

Folks, I think East Albany has gotten the short end of the stick for a while now.  While everyone goes on about Downtown, and how we need to throw all this support – and, invariably, money – towards Downtown, but nothing about East Albany.  It’s kind of the redheaded stepchild of Albany in a lot of ways.

However, that isn’t the topic being discussed.  If it was, I’d have to side with the East Albany residents.  What is the topic being discussed is school closings.  The Dougherty County School System is losing kids.  They’ve lost plenty in the past, and they’re projecting that they’ll lose even more.  That’s hardly surprising, after all.  The system hasn’t exactly instilled confidence in me over the past few years, and I’m not alone on that front.

Today, the system is trying to do something responsible.  They’re trying to make more efficient use of taxpayer money, which is exactly what they should be doing.  Claiming that closing a certain school isn’t “fair” is ridiculous.  After all, why should other Dougherty County residents have to pay for your convenience?  Why should my fellow taxpayers have to pay for your sense of “fairness”?  What’s fair about that?

One attendee claimed that closing the schools amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment”.  The same person said that their children would be “crippled even further”.  Really?

First, this person has never even seen cruel and unusual punishment.  If she had, I seriously doubt should would categorize the inconvenience of a child going to school a bit further away as “cruel and unusual punishment”.  Is it a pain the butt?  Granted.  However, something being inconvenient is hardly “cruel and unusual punishment”.  If that were the case, then me having to go to the grocery store on a Saturday morning would qualify.

As for children being “crippled even further”, I’m going to argue that the attitude that they are somehow entitled to convenience on top of everything else will do far more to cripple them for the real world.  Commutes are a face of life.  Albanians have gotten spoiled with our relatively short commute times, though even then some commutes can take up to an hour.  To argue that a child shouldn’t have to commute a little farther to school, because it will “cripple” them in some way is probably one of the more asinine arguments I’ve come across.

Folks, if you want to combat these closings, then more power to you.  Good luck.  However, learn to use facts, not emotion.  Frankly, I find your emotional outcries to be pretty sad.  Facts, on the other hand, tend to be far more moving.  Show us how it makes more sense to close different schools (closings are needed, make no mistake), and win us over.  Claiming ridiculous things like “cruel and unusual punishment” only makes me want these closings to happen even sooner.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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