Parents plead school board not to close schools | News
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)- Emotions overflowed at a Richmond Public School Board public hearing Tuesday night, as parents fight plans to close three elementary schools. Board members said consolidating schools could save $400,000 per building closed. However, parents, teachers and other community members lined up to tell board members that closing the doors on these schools is also closing the doors on their children.
The cheers had to be quelled by the school board countless times, as one parent after another pleaded members not to close their child's elementary school. John B. Cary, Bellevue, and either Southampton or Fisher Elementary schools could filter students elsewhere under rezoning plans.
"My son is in third grade at Cary. He comes home crying because he doesn't want Cary to close," said Leslie Parlow, whose son attends John B. Cary Elementary.
More than one child spoke openly about the impact of losing their school.
"Our staff is fantastic and our students are amazing... But in order to stay fantastic, we need to be kept together," said Jamie, a student at Bellevue Elementary.
One of the biggest sentiments shared was the distaste at the thought of closing schools that parents said are performing so well.
"These schools are actually educating our children, when there are so many schools that are simply babysitting our students," said Merlene Smith-Taylor, whose granddaughter attends Southampton Elementary.
The idea of limiting school choice from kids who live out of zone was passionately protested, as well.
"I do not understand the logic of removing the choice for hundreds of parents in the Southside… combining Fisher and Southampton will ultimately mean eliminating the open enrollment option to allow parents to choose these schools," said Natalie Davis, who is a teacher and has a daughter who leaves Fisher Elementary.
Another public hearing on this same issue is set for this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at John Marshall High School. The School Board is set to vote on the final rezoning plans on June 18.
Meantime, other moves discussed to cut the more than $15 million school budget gap included extra furlough days, and encouraging more staff members to retire.
Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.