No Gallup poll exists to prove if the hullabaloo over the move of Kitty Stone Elementary School has been caused by a dissenting few or an overwhelming majority.
Instead, we’re left with this:
On Tuesday, voters in Jacksonville returned two incumbents to that city’s Board of Education, Mike Poe and Steve Smith. Those incumbents played a role in the long saga that has enveloped Jacksonville’s quest for a new elementary school. If this election was a referendum on the board’s Kitty Stone decision, the message voters sent was, simply, “It’s time to move on.”
We don’t mean to make light of the uneasy feelings some Jacksonville residents feel about the Kitty Stone move. Schools are a community’s bedrock, and in Jacksonville, Kitty Stone is tantamount to a cultural and historical site. It is beloved. Jacksonville is fortunate to have it.
That said, the city and the school board have piloted Jacksonville’s schools toward a future that makes sense — for today and for tomorrow. A new building is needed. Constructing it near the high school is a logical thought. And if traffic on George Douthit Drive becomes unmanageable — as a few of the loudest critics have predicted — the response should be reasonable: find a solution and fix it.
In other words, get on with the business of educating Jacksonville’s children.
The notion that Jacksonville’s next big education step should include a middle school built at the Kitty Stone site may have merit. But considering the fact that ground hasn’t been broken on the new Kitty Stone, that discussion is one for the board to consider in due time. Not now, in other words.
The election over, Jacksonville deserves a respite from the sometimes-nasty back-and-forth between Kitty Stone’s warring sides. The voters have spoken. Democracy should prevail, again.