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Hopson presents adjustments on student moves, stands by two school closings

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson discusses school closings at a March board meeting.
Superintendent Dorsey Hopson discusses school closings at a March board meeting.
Daarel Burnette II

Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson announced tweaks Tuesday to his proposal to close two schools and move hundreds of students from four others at the close of this school year.

After a series of meetings with community members, charter school officials and municipality board members, Hopson proposes to keep all students at Spring Hill Elementary instead of moving some to Keystone Elementary; reconsider converting Woodstock High School into a middle school; and allow Freedom Preparatory Academy charter school to take over all of Westwood Elementary School instead of just two more grades.

The administration still recommends closing South Side Middle School and moving those students to Riverview Middle School. It also recommends closing Lincoln Elementary School, with that student population moving to A.B. Hills Elementary School.

Hopson, who initiated the proposed closings and student moves in a plan announced in January, presented his recommended changes Tuesday night to the Shelby County Board of Education.

The presentation prompted a lively discussion among board members who asked Hopson to do everything possible to ensure that students don’t suffer academically when their schools are closed.

Over the last three years in Memphis, 16 schools have been closed, impacting 3,555 students.

“It seems like we’re the ones doing the most harm to our children,” said board member Stephanie Love. “How they can ever get comfortable in their learning environment when the resources are not being put into the school to help these children move forward?”

The board is scheduled to vote March 31 on the two closings and other changes outlined by Hopson.

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