Shelby board votes to close nine schools, merge two others

After hearing emotional pleas from communities hoping to keep their schools open, the Shelby County Schools board on Tuesday voted to shutter nine schools and to merge two, reports The Commercial Appeal.

Originally, 13 schools were slated for closure.

School supporters turned out in droves, packing the Frances E. Coe Auditorium on South Hollywood, with school supporters lining the perimeter of the room and spilling into overflow spaces in the hallways.

Supporters from Gordon Elementary, Northside High School, Westhaven Elementary and other schools took the board to task for uprooting thousands of students and in some cases transferring students to schools with lower overall student academic achievement than the schools that will be closed.

Supt. Dorsey Hopson said he was encouraged because there has been so much community support.

“I hope that people continue to carry that passion and excitement about educationregardless of the decisions made this evening,” he said.

The vote came after Hopson made his final recommendations.

Hopson recommended merging Riverview Elementary and Riverview Middle School, removing Alcy Elementary and Northside High from the closure list and requesting funding from the Shelby County Commission to build a new school for Westhaven, Fairley and Raineshaven elementary students.

The board approved those recommendations.

The school board voted to close Corry Middle, Cypress Middle, Shannon Elementary, Klondike Elementary, Vance Middle School, Lanier Middle, Westhaven Elementary, Gordon Elementary and Graves Elementary.

Riverview Elementary will merge with Riverview Middle to create a K-8 school.