Parents of Caldwell Elementary students upset about school's upcoming closure

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Memphis elementary school will soon close its doors for good, leaving many parents wondering what will happen next.

John Henderson, a parent of a Caldwell Elementary student, was not happy with Memphis City School's decision to close the school.

"I think it's a terrible decision," he said.

A plan announced Monday calls for closing Caldwell Elementary and moving students to Guthrie Elementary, Gordon Elementary and Southeast Prep Academy.

"This school is exceeding and that school over there at Guthrie is failing," Henderson said.

But School Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash says Caldwell is in bad shape.  The school, which was built in the late 1950's, has to close to improve efficiencies.

"Guthrie is the newer school," Cash said. "Caldwell is the older school.  It needs a lot of repairs to bring it up to standards."

But parents like Barbara Johnson believe that could be done.

"Some things could be upgraded," Johnson said.

Cash said Caldwell's student enrollment numbers have also dropped, and the facility is operating at half capacity.

Caldwell's building also houses River City High School and Perea Preschool.

"The Perea preschool will be offered to go into Gordon Elementary," Cash said. "The River City High School program will be closed and dissolved, and these students will go into a school of their choice."

Cash is hoping for a smooth transition.  To help ease parents concerns, the district plans to change the start time at Guthrie from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and add up to three bus routes.

The closure is a part of a five year capital plan presented to the Board of Commissioners.

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