I got to know Amy Hiller, principal at Meek Elementary in Winston County when we did the rural schools study. We spent a lot of time at her little school in Arley, AL. Will never forget her telling me, “If you meet a turtle coming down the hall, he’s supposed to be here.” Seems that her students enjoyed taking care of him and he roamed wherever he cared to.
Nor will I forget asking her one day if I were to write a blank check to her school, what would she do with it? She immediately responded that he would run the heat and air-conditioning when it should be. Because of on-going budget concerns, the central office was trying to cut back on utility bills.
And I know that whenever I ask Amy for her thoughts, I will get a response. Recently I asked her what she thought about legislation that will allow a student going to high school at a private school to get up to $10,000 in money that should have gone to the state education trust fund. (In other words, we are robbing Peter to pay Paul. In the case of Winston County, the state sends them $6,659 per student. So the legislature figures a private school student is worth $3,341 more than a Winston County student.
Here is what she said:
“I will take it a step further and just say, to _____ with providing private
school scholarships by taking money from public education. Find the money
elsewhere or help fix the problems with communities where the public schools may
not be highly rated. Work toward providing jobs, eradicating drug and alcohol
addiction, and educating parents on how to be parents. Fix these monstrosities
and the schools in these communities will be fine.”