Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Shelby County Schools’ plans to close some schools.
County School superintendent Dorsey Hopson is less than a month away from stepping down to take a job in the private sector. But before he leaves, Hopson has a major task to complete, one that could prove highly unpopular in some areas of the district and highly necessary in others.
The outgoing superintendent is scheduled to present a preliminary plan to the school board Tuesday afternoon to close numerous underused and aging schools over the next five years. The proposal also would include building new schools as part of an overall rezoning plan.
The price tag for such an ambitious effort is uncertain. But obviously, it would be in the tens of millions. The bigger questions are how will any school closings play in the impacted neighborhoods? And will the school board, the county commission, and others take the plan seriously, since Hopson will be leaving January 8th and a new superintendent would be saddled with someone else’s master plans.
Whether Hopson’s proposal gains traction or not, it’s clear that the district has a long list of school buildings in dire need of repairs or demolition. Just last month during a cold snap, several schools were forced to cancel classes because of faulty heating systems. Then there is the occasional leaky roof and other structural problems.
So, a comprehensive plan to address all this is long overdue. The problem is, Hopson won’t be around to defend it. And that’s my point of view.