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Pine Bluff’s St. Joseph Catholic School will close at the end of the school year. The thumb up is for a good run and a tradition of good students and teachers who care.

With just 42 students preregistered for the 2013-14 school year, the Little Rock Diocese had no alternative when an annual enrollment of at least 100 students is required for financial viability.

The school, which serves students in fifth through 12th grades, has recorded a 50 percent decline in enrollment since 2006, when 109 students were enrolled.

We can blame the Arkansas Delta’s sagging economy and outward migration for the shrinking enrollment. It has become an issue of demographics for public and private schools.

The diocese closed St. Peter Catholic School here last year, again citing declining enrollment.

The closure of St. Raphael Catholic School in Springdale was announced earlier this month, according to the diocese. Holy Redeemer School in El Dorado was shuttered in 2005, Our Lady of Good Counsel School in Little Rock closed the following year, and Immaculate Conception School in Blytheville ended classes in 2007.

St. Joseph’s legacy will live with its students.

Go home

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Steve Brawner’s column in Friday’s edition of The Commercial was on point and portions were worth repeating and emphasizing. We warned our readers in January that the General Assembly was going into session and it was time to lock up the women and children for their safety.

The columnist suggested House Bill 1712 as just one good reason for our senators and representatives packing up and heading home. They have been too eager to pass laws that were not needed, especially ones that have limited the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

HB 1712 makes it illegal for any voter to photograph their marked ballot. Why? It’s their ballot.

Well, we were told, it would prohibit voters from offering proof they voted for this or that candidate for a payoff. No proof was offered, but we still may get a new law.

No bill should be adopted that limits our freedoms. However, we have lost track of similar pieces of legislation in this session.

Now HB 1712 has moved to the Senate for consideration. Contact your senators and ask why this and other new laws are really needed.

When lawmakers pass more laws limiting what residents can do, they are ignoring their oaths.

Budget crunch

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As Jefferson County justices confront falling revenues and rising expenditures, it might be worth noting that the laws governing county finances have changed in recent years.

County Treasurer Elizabeth Rinchuso reminded the JPs Monday that they can only appropriate 90 percent of anticipated revenues.

For decades quorum courts were limited to appropriating 80 percent of anticipated income. That was an even harder task when it came to budgeting.