A few weeks ago I had a letter published stating it seemed the gasoline distributors in the Valley had leveled out with other towns nearby and how competitive gas prices would improve all-around business in Water Valley since locals wouldn’t be shopping for lower gas prices elsewhere and buying other items their, also.
That same Friday I went to Batesville and ran into gas prices in the low $3.40s, having left the Valley prices of upper $3.60s. Batesville is now in the low $3.30s and the Valley has generously dropped theirs a nickel to the mid-$3.60s!
There is no need to keep waging a battle for fair dealings with Water Valley gas prices. During the years we’ve observed this situation and I finally have one final conclusion: When you pull up to a gas pump in the Valley You’re going to be paying from a dime to forty cents a gallon more than Batesville and Oxford. Same brands, same distributors. Makes one feel like a victim, doesn’t it?
This letter is written to examine the connection between the education of the youth of Water Valley and the economic conditions that exist in our city. As most of the readers are now aware, the Water Valley School District received an overall grade of D in last month’s round of school rankings. Obviously there is significant room for improvement.
In recent comments, School Superintendent Kim Chrestman laid out plans for addressing many of the problems we face. Chrestman’s administration has obtained grants to bring in badly needed new resources to assist the students and faculty in a wide variety of areas. Also, additional improvements in the area of student discipline and student intervention programs are showing good results.
One thing the school administrators and faculty do not have control over is the financial status of the students in their district. In Water Valley the poverty rate is approximately 73 percent. Obviously, this number is a direct indicator of the economic conditions in our area. This level of poverty, in turn, has a tremendous effect on the tax revenue generated for the local funding of our schools.
So then, it seems with a reduction in the poverty level through economic growth and job creation, the resulting increase in revenue will, in turn, have a positive effect on the education of our youth. This growth is occurring in our city and it shines in corporations like BorgWarner, Valley Tool, and the many new small businesses that seem to be popping up all over town. Yet, it is vital this growth is encouraged by our leaders and the city’s policies, procedures, and regulations.
In summary, I would like to think Water Valley is moving forward and is becoming an even better place to live and to raise our families. But now is not the time to become complacent. We must continue to foster new businesses in our town and support those who have stayed through the lean times.
/s/J. Clayton Peacock