Fayette plan would close elementary school and rezone kids

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

FAYETTE COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - In an effort to comply with a federal desegregation order that dates back to the 1960's, Fayette County schools are hoping to become more racially diverse.

To do so, district officials are  taking drastic measures, which have left some people upset. Come August, some Fayette County school kids will be forced to go to schools miles away from their home.

"It's a shame, I'm losing my neighborhood, my schools and my ability to participate in neighborhood schools," said parent Chris Goodman.

Parents like Goodman are upset with a new redistricting proposal, which would move students.  He says he wants the rezoning delayed until more research is done.

"Our kids are being taken from schools one mile away and moving them almost twelve miles away," Goodman said.

The plan calls for Jefferson Elementary in Somerville to close its doors.  Those students would then move to nearby Somerville Elementary.

School leaders say this consolidation will free up nearly a million dollars in the budget.

The new plan also calls for the construction of a new elementary school in Somerville.

"The school board needs to be financially accountable to the county commission and they haven't been," school board candidate Antoine Logan said. "That's a big reason they haven't received funds to build the new school."

Some parents believe this new plan will do more harm than good.

"What happens next month when things don't turn out? What happens because of rezoning? People pack up and move away from Fayette County," Goodman said.

School board member Bryon O'Brien said it was very difficult to find a solution to fix something that's been wrong for over three decades.  But he feels this was the best plan available.

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