School Board Moves Forward with Memphis School Closures

School Board Moves Forward with Memphis School Closures

After nearly 5 hours of heated debate, the Memphis and Shelby County Unified School Board is moving forward with plans to close six schools.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - After nearly 5 hours of heated debate, the Memphis and Shelby County Unified School Board is moving forward with plans to close six schools.

Thursday night's vote kicks off a long process of community meetings and impact studies regarding the six: Coro Lake, White's Chapel, Gordon, Orleans, and Norris Elementary Schools. Under the plan, Humes Middle School would be closed, then re-opened as a performing arts school.

LaSonya Collins has two students who attend Gordon.

"When you have a child they wake up and they are ready to go to school, my kids love Gordon," she said.

Collins sat through the nearly 5-hour meeting on Thursday night, hoping school board commissioners would spare Gordon, but they didn't.

"Some things, the only thing that's holding some of those communities together, ladies and gentlemen, are the schools," said Commissioner Sara Lewis. Many of the schools up for closure are in her district.

The district argues the six schools are in declining population areas and closing them could save around $5 million.

"It looks like Beirut, Gaza and all those other things, just come with me and the only thing some of those people have to hold onto are the schools, now that's wrong, but that's them, a man is drowning, he will grab a straw," Lewis said.

The Transition Planning Commission originally recommended closing 21 schools in a bid to save around $21 million. On Monday, the district cut the list to six schools, with an estimated savings of around $5 million.

The Board will now hold community meetings and conduct impact studies.
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