Supporters Fight To Keep Neighborhood Schools Open
(Memphis) “I love this school and I don’t want it to close,” says Bridget Bradley, PTO President of Westhaven Elementary School.
With the passion of a worried parent, Bradley spent the last few weeks telling everyone she can about a school she and others are fighting to save.
“Our parents have been very diligent. They are walking the streets, knocking on doors,” says Bailey.
This week she and other supporters of Westhaven Elementary are gathering petition signatures inside Southland Mall.
“I’m hoping it will show that we care about this school that everyone hopes is going to stay open and not close,” says Westhaven supporter Erma Moore.
Their well oiled, grass-roots machine expanded from door to door, email and letter writing, now to businesses jumping on board and allowing petitioners to get signatures from customers.
Westhaven is one of several schools the Shelby County School System is considering closing.
Westhaven supporters say it’s not academics that put their school on the list.
“Our school is level 5, that’s the highest you can get in the state of Tennessee. Our biggest concern is our special needs students,” says Bradley.
She says building safety is what the system says put Westhaven on the closing list. Bradley says the school is in need of repair, not closure.
“In 2010 there was money allocated to get a new roof, floor, boiler room. None of that was done. Where is the money?” asks Bradley.
Alumni and parents at Northside High are facing a similar fight against plans to close their school because of low enrollment.
An on-line petition is generating plenty of comments from those who say the district’s boundary changes and elimination of career technology led to Northside’s trouble.
“If we look at the rezoning of the district, consider those students and bring them back to Northside, bring back the programs vocational and academics, it will make a tremendous difference and the school will be able to stay open,” says Katrina Thompson, a graduate and supporter of Northside High School.
Westhaven supporters got 500 signatures on their petition in just one day.
Northside has pulled in pastors who will hold a news conference later this week about that school’s proposed closing.
Both schools will meet with the board and superintendent next week.