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Shelby County school board moves forward with school closures

Kyle Kurlick

Shelby County’s school board Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the district’s administration to hold a series of meetings with several communities whose schools are slated to be closed at the end of this school year.

Last week, the administration added four more schools to a list of schools set to be shuttered.

The district has spent the last two years closing several schools in the southwest and northwest areas of the city, where population and school enrollment have declined.

The majority of the schools on the closure list have fewer than 400 students and are using less than 85 percent of their buildings. They are also chronically underperforming schools, according to the district.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson addressed concerns about the planned closures in a letter last week, saying:

“In the end, this is not about the buildings we are recommending for closure, but about the lives of the students inside those buildings. Low enrollment and poor academic performance do not serve our children. As a community we are all responsible for the conditions inside all of our schools. So while the process of school closure can be painful, it would be more painful to leave those schools the way they are.”

The board won’t vote to finalize the closures until after the community meetings, according to the district.

Several urban school districts, including Philadelphia and Chicago, closed large numbers of schools last year, citing similar concerns about enrollment and academic performance.

The schools on the list set to be closed next year include:

  • Alcy Elementary School
  • Riverview Elementary School
  • Graves Elementary School
  • Westhaven Elementary School
  • Lanier Middle School
  • Corry Middle School
  • Riverview Middle School
  • Gordon Elementary School
  • Klondike Elementary School
  • Shannon Elementary School
  • Vance Middle School
  • Cypress Middle School
  • Northside High School

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