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Meeting may calm rumors

The rumor mill has kicked into high gear on the proposal to close Redfield Middle School. Some of the observations we have heard tossed around lack some credibility,

However, when you are discussing schools and children, reasoning sometimes disappear in a cloud of fears and misinformation.

While the White Hall School Board agreed Nov. 13 to meet in December or January with the Save Redfield Middle School task force representatives to discuss the proposed closure, Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith has since indicated scheduling conflicts prohibit a meeting until sometime in January.

A meeting in December would go a long way toward calming the roiled waters. Task force members have said they expect a decision by the board in January, quoting Smith as saying district employment contracts for the 2013-14 school year go out in January and must be returned by May. They emphasized Smith advised the board that any decision on possible school closure must be made before the contracts are distributed.

We turned to the Arkansas Department of Education, but received conflicting responses to several questions about the proposed closure. Conflicting opinions from state agencies are not new to us.

Task force members contend they worried that the board may rush to a decision to close the school based on “what-if scenarios.”

Alternatives being considered by the task force include converting the middle school to a charter school and a municipal sales tax at Redfield to help with school funding. The group established a fund at Pine Bluff National Bank to finance expenses and is soliciting donations for a legal fund.

The economic and enrollment issues cited by Smith are real. The concerns of the Redfield community should be considered. There are reasons enough for both sides to meet and discuss their concerns before January.