Public meeting to be held on Memphis school closures

Public meeting to be held on Memphis school closures

(WMC-TV) - As the Shelby County Board of Education considers closing 21 schools, lawmakers say the process is shrouded in secrecy.

Tennessee Representatives Barbara Cooper and GA Hardaway say the purpose of a news conference held Monday morning was to alert the public and call for more transparency.

Lawmakers say the community needs answers about student displacement, potential unemployment, and buildings left behind before the Shelby County School Board votes to close 21 schools.

"I asked for a list of the proposed schools. Nobody knows what the list is. That's ludicrous," said Rep. Barbara Cooper.

They say empty buildings were never considered when Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Housing Director Robert Lipscomb were cut out of the process.

"Economics, public safety, health and wellness, and housing are all critical issues," said Rep. GA Hardaway.

The mayor released the following statement:

"A part of this input should be discussion of adaptive reuses, which will allow those buildings that can no longer be used as schools, to continue to serve as anchors in their communities."

What we do know about the closures is that six of the schools are in northwest Memphis. Three of those are elementary schools, one is a middle school, and two are high schools.

Fifteen schools in southwest Memphis also face closure. Seven of those are elementary schools, six are middle schools, and two are high schools.

The Transition Planning Commission says the closures would save $21 million.

A public meeting about the school closures will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Bloomfield Full Gospel Church on South Parkway West.

The lawmakers will also hold meetings in the state Capitol this week.

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