MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Schools Board voted to close two schools due to an $86 million dollar budget gap.
The board voted Tuesday night to close Memphis Health Careers Academy and New Consortium for Law and Business.
In total, 20 Memphis schools have closed in the last four years. The administration cites under-enrollment and underachievement as the primary reasons for the closures.
Memphis Health Careers Academy, located in South Memphis, has an enrollment of just 74 students. The school has a target enrollment goal of 250.
The closure for the academy came without debate or outcry from the crowd, but outside the school hours earlier, students and parents knew what was coming.
"We got a phone call that the school was closing and I think it's sad that the school is closing," said Sharita Marion, parent.
"Because it gives the kids good opportunities to further themselves in life," said Raijeen Davis, student.
The school opened in 2008, and last year, just three students left with a career certification.
The SCS-authorized charter school known as New Consortium for Law and Business was also voted to be closed. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson wanted to close it last year based on multiple district violations, low enrollment, and poor test scores.
"I will always be thankful to you for presiding over the decision to allow me more time with our children, our parents, and the best team in this school district," said Tommie Henderson, director.
Hopson is proposing $50 million dollars in cuts to help keep the district's finances afloat. Hopson said closing the schools is a step toward securing SCS finances.
Hopson said there will be many more closures down the line.
"So what we know is that we have 27,000 more seats than students," Hopson said. "So we're working to put together a comprehensive footprint plan."
That plan in the works would determine how many schools may need to close at once, rather than doing so one by one, year after year.
There will be meetings next month with parents of the students impacted by the closures to inform them of their options.