Unitary status will return local control to school boards

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2003

Troy City schools are petitioning the federal courts for unitary status in a number of areas of the 1999 desegregation order.

This has a number of implications for the school district, chief among them being greater local control over the educational program for our children.

Typically, the government closest to the people provides the best, most efficient and most effective services to the people.

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Desegregation orders throughout the South - and their companion consent decrees - have long determined the shape public education has taken.

In Troy's case, school leadership partnered with the Justice Department and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to iron out a road map that has served the city's school district well since 1999.

Such a partnership has resulted in both Justice and the NAACP joining Troy's petition to be released from federal oversight in five areas of the original consent decree.

While that release won't mean immediate changes to the daily operations and federal report filings for the district, it does mean that the district is another step closer to closing Lee v. Macon County, the overriding discrimination lawsuit that has the entire state wrapped in its arms.

Relief from the consent decree also means that Troy school administrators have done a good job in managing the daunting task of steering the district through the desegregation quagmire.

We applaud the efforts of the school board and the district administration in moving the schools into a new era of education.

Restoring a bit more home rule will have a positive impact in lives and learning of the city's young people for years to come.