The state Board of Education decided today to close Paron High School. It’s now part of the Bryant School District and Bryant officials said insufficient money, tiny classes and teachers doubling up in subjects all argued for closing the high school and shifting the students to Bryant High. Opponents of the closure said it would create burdensome bus rides. Students, however, can transfer to closer high schools in adjacent districts, including Joe T. Robinson High in Little Rock.
This decision will undoubtedly produce more fodder for Asa Hutchinson, who’s been rallying rural folks with an anti-consolidation message. It’s another opportunity for us to laud Gov. Mike Huckabee, who wouldn’t accede to a recent legislative effort by Hutchinson’s nephew, state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson, to protect Paron through special legislation and thus turn the clock back on years of efforts to improve high school efficiency and curriculum. What’s more, this is Huckabee’s Education Department, from superintendent Ken James through every member of the Board of Education. If he’d wanted this case decided otherwise, we’re confident he had the political skills and muscle to get it done.
It will be interesting to watch Hutchinson try to pin this on Attorney General Mike Beebe, as opposed to the Republican governor.