Focus On What Brings Us Together

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Just for one night, let's put aside the fact that many of us bleed purple and white or orange and black.

Just for one night, let's come together and talk about some really great opportunities for the future of our students and our communities.

This Tuesday evening, Oct. 29, members of both the Hillsboro and Litchfield school boards will share a joint meeting to discuss the potential school district reorganization issues brought about by the Montgomery County School Study Commission. The meeting will be held at the unit office in Hillsboro, located at 1311 Vandalia Road.

At a presentation in August, members of the commission recommended consolidation of the Hillsboro and Litchfield school districts, building a new high school somewhere between the two, with the possibility of providing more opportunities for all students.

This is an important meeting. Whether you believe consolidation of the two districts is the best decision or not, this is your chance to share your thoughts.

After calling the meeting to order, the board will hear input from the public. This is your chance to talk about what you think is best for the future of our students. Both boards will be listening.

Times have changed. Perhaps it's time we look at a change in the way we educate our students, our future.

A pool of around 900 students would certainly offer more opportunities to them all. Maybe a student who has a future in writing has a chance to take more English courses, perhaps a class on Shakespeare or even a class in journalism.

Both schools already offer some courses with dual college credit, but think about the possibilities that lie with creating a larger base of students. College debt is at an all-time high. Perhaps a consolidated district can offer more college-level courses, meaning parents and students could save on some college expenses.

How about an expanded vocational-technical program? We already know that schools in Macoupin County have secured $2 million in grant funding to do just that. And we also know there is a huge shortage of workers in many trade fields, like welding and plumbing. Let's pool our resources and give our students a chance at some good jobs that make a difference in their very own communities.

A larger high school means changes for sure. Perhaps some students might not get as much playing time in the game or as big of a part in the school play. But let's look at the bigger picture too, in bringing stronger sports and arts programs to our schools, where all the students will benefit.

And stronger programs could also be a draw to those looking to move into the county, where parents tend to look first at what kind of schools are available.

Maybe a consolidation of these two districts is not the best solution at this time. But we encourage you to come to the meeting and listen to what's being said. Keep an open mind and think first about our students and their future.

Just for one night, let's set aside our differences and focus on what brings us together, the desire to provide the very best for our students and their futures.

Journal-News Editorial Board

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