Reaction to closure of 9 SCS schools - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Reaction to closure of 9 SCS schools

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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The axe has fallen. Nine Shelby County Schools are closing before the start of the 2014-15 school year and two others are merging.

But the cuts were not as deep as they could have been. The original plan was to close 13 schools, but after impassioned pleas from parents and promises of improvement by two other schools, the list was narrowed and then finalized at Tuesday night's school board meeting.

MORE: SCS board approves Hopson's recommendations on closings
MORE: Will SCS school closures add to Memphis' blight?

This was difficult dose of that reality but as Superintendent Dorsey Hopson pointed out, these cuts were necessary for efficiency of the entire district.

At least two schools got the good news that they will be left intact and open: Northside High School and Alcy Elementary, after promises of improvement in academics. Riverview Elementary and Riverview Middle schools will merge.

But that left nine schools to go dark.
The school board voted to close Corry Middle, Cypress Middle, Shannon Elementary, Westhaven Elementary, Gordon Elementary, Klondike Elementary, Graves Elementary, Vance Middle and Lanier Middle.

All the moves recommended by Superintendent Hopson and absolutely rejected by the thousands of parents and students who will be affected.

The next challenge, the school board also approved a measure to ask the Shelby County Commission for roughly $11 million to tear down the Westhaven Elementary building and pay to merge those students with Raineshaven and Fairley Elementary in a new building.

After months of uncertainty teachers across the district now know the fate of their schools. They say they just want to keep the focus on their students and move forward.
For months now..parents across Shelby County have been voicing their concerns, even holding protests, while teachers sat back quietly doing their jobs. Wednesday, they can breath a sigh of relief now knowing what's ahead for their schools.

After nearly a year of planning, months of community engagement, and even protests SCS teachers can now stop wondering and worrying and get back to the business of teaching.
"It's not easy. There's a lot of uncertainty but at the end of the day, were trying to do our best with what we're given," said Bolton High teacher Corey Stockton.

Teachers FOX13 News met on Wednesday, the day after the district school board approved to close nine schools and merge two others, teach high school history. Most high schools were not affected by the closings.

"We just want to know that our students are taken care of and get the best possible education in an environment that they are used to and that they love," said Carver High teacher Janet Booker, a school that was once on the chopping block.

Stockton, who teaches at Bolton High in Bartlett, which is not closing, has questions about how all the reshuffling of students will happen.

"Next year Bolton is going to stay part of Shelby County Schools, so there is a lot of uncertainty about how the environment of our school is going to change," Stockton said.

These teachers say they understand what the district is doing and say at the end of the day it comes down to the students and making sure they are taken care of.
"It's always hard when schools close because it seems like vital parts are taken out of the community and people are really emotional, and so are the teachers," Booker said.

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