School Board Votes to Consolidate McCracken County Schools
By: Arnold Wyrick
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. - For the past two years school leaders in McCracken County Kentucky have been working on a plan to relieve some of the overcrowding at Lone Oak High School.
"Then we got to thinking if we're going to build a new school for students in Lone Oak, why not give all the high school students in our district the same opportunities to attend the state-of-the-art facility," said Superintendent Tom Heller.
On Thursday night school board members voted unanimously to consolidate students and staff at Heath High School, Reidland High School and Lone Oak High School.  The move will force former gridiron rivals to join the same team.
"I don't think that's a good idea.  Yeah it's going to give us more opportunity to learn.  But we're going to be a 6A school.  And we're not going to be able to compete in athletics against 6A schools.  We ain't even going to have a chance," said Justin Jackson of Lone Oak.
Some parents in the soon to be shuttered schools also are upset by their school board's decision.
"I really don't like it.  I would just as soon see my son attend high school here at Reidland High School," said Tim Fowler of Reidland.
The proposed consolidation of the three high schools will create a new school with a student enrollment of more than 1500 students.  For some it could end up extending their bus rides too.
"I can see both sides of it.  However I live out there by the park where they're wanting to build.  It's a long drive.  And I can see where parents with children would be a little upset.  I've also seen children standing around here at 6:45 a.m. waiting in line to catch the bus.  I can't imagine what time they're going to have to be in line for them to make it all the way out there," said Linda Zuerner of Reidland.
"I'm from Reidland, and I attended high school here in Reidland.  In a way I can see where people are mad about it.  But, then in another way it could be good, it was in Marshall County.  So I'm kind of mixed about it," said Tabitha Davis of Reidland.
The school district has already purchased a 140 acre tract along Kentucky 60 West of Paducah for the new building.
"It's going to take several committee meetings.  And then it'll take the architect about a year to come up with a final design.  So we're looking at three year time table to build our new school and move students and staff into it," said Superintendent Heller.