City officials possibly open to 'repurposing' school buildings - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City officials possibly open to 'repurposing' school buildings on closure list

Hopson said he met with city leaders on the day the district held community meetings concerning proposed closures. Hopson said he met with city leaders on the day the district held community meetings concerning proposed closures.
Neighborhood meetings began Monday night at two of the 13 schools on the chopping block. Neighborhood meetings began Monday night at two of the 13 schools on the chopping block.
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(WMC-TV) - Shelby County School District superintendent Dorsey Hopson told the board Tuesday that city officials are open to possibly utilizing some of the schools on a proposed closure list.

Hopson said he met with city leaders on the day the district held community meetings concerning proposed closures.

"I met with Robert Lipscomb [Monday]," he said. "Figure out a way for some of those buildings, if they're closed, to repurpose them so we don't have a vacant school in all these neighborhoods.

Neighborhood meetings began Monday night at two of the 13 schools on the chopping block.

Parents attended the meeting to help their school stay open. They were shown data on low enrollment and low test scores that the district used to select the schools for possible closure.

Many schools are in areas where redevelopment is underway, and they may be the ones most likely to be repurposed if closed.

"We can't afford to have just vacant boarded up buildings," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton in a recent interview.

Empty school buildings is the last thing needed in a city where combating blight has been such a high-profile priority.

"One thing we consistently hear is, 'We don't want to close the building and damage the neighborhood. They're very aware of that," said Hopson.

But, for now, schools remain open. Permanent plans to repurpose buildings must wait until final decisions are made.

Also Tuesday, the board learned that the district is working closely with municipal school leaders. Surveys will soon be sent out to gauge both attendance numbers and the employment intentions of teachers.

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