(Shelby County) Parents reacted with both sadness and frustration after hearing their kids’ schools will close.
The Shelby County School Board decided to shut down several schools, including Westhaven Elementary.
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, who heads the education committee, said he believes the board can come up with the $10.5 million needed to construct a new school, but the price tag may ultimately be even higher.
Gloria Jones’s nephew Chad has not always done well in school, but she said Westhaven Elementary changed that.
“He seems to enjoy it. He likes his teacher and the students that are there. I think he’s done well here, better than the other school he was attending.”
However, the school’s closure will send displaced students, like Chad, to Fairley Elementary and Raineshaven Elementary.
The district plans on officially asking county commissioners for almost $11 million to build a new school. It is something some commissioners, like Mulroy, said they want to do.
“We have about $75 million in our in our capital budget every year. About $55 million of that is reserved for school construction.”
However, he pointed out even more money will eventually have to be spent.
“Under the so called ADA law that the state issued a few years back, you have to have a proportional allocation of dollars. So for every dollar you spend out in the old suburbs, you have to spend two and a half times that in the city.”
That means an additional $3 million to $4 million would have to go to the municipal school districts.
While Jones said she wishes the students could stay in the current school, she will also be happy if a new one is built.
“I’m OK with anything to make the school a little better, a little more up to date. ”
Mulroy said the commission will wait to receive a capital budget request from Hopson’s administration.
He said he is cautiously optimistic that his fellow commissioners will support the rebuilding of Westhaven.