LRSD Community Blueprint edges closer to a vote

Two people spoke before the LRSD Community Advisory Board Thursday evening, expressing their views on the plans to transform the district. (KATV Photo)

The term "school closure" continues to worry some as was evident during a Little School District Community Advisory Board meeting on Thursday.

"I'm personally absolutely opposed to anymore school closures. I don't see any success stories that we have from closing Franklin, Wilson and Woodruff schools," said Anika Whitfield, a 1991 graduate of Hall High School.

"Many people don't realize that our buildings in this district average 56 years of age," said LRSD Supt. Michael Poore.

In September, LRSD held a series of community blueprint meetings to gauge the public's input on advancing the school district.

The ideas were compiled and presented by Poore on Tuesday.

"Our blueprint in my eyes has been decades in the making," Poore said.

Now, it's up to the Community Advisory Board to approve or deny the blueprint.

Poore noted the goals for the district are to improve learning environments, expand amenities and tools for parents as well as boosting staff salaries.

If approved, the plans will seek final judgement from State Education Commissioner Johnny Key.

The plans call for students from McClellan and J.A. Fair to move into the new Southwest High School, which is slated to open its doors in 2020.

As a result, J.A. Fair and McClellan would be converted into K-8 schools.

Local middle schools would eventually occupy the upgraded high school facilities.

Transportation remains a big concern for parent Valencia White.

"Some people don't have transportation to get their children to school now and if you're closing the schools and sending them somewhere else, how would that affect them as well," White said.

"Will there be some students who will have a longer bus ride? That in fact is true but there are also students who will have a shorter bus ride and the reality is, the distance between J.A. Fair and McClellan to the new high school is basically six miles from either campus," Poore said.

Bridging district-wide cultural divides also serves as a vital aspect of the plan to enhance LRSD.

"It's also about having the kids come together whether it's on the playing field or in the performing arts or in the academic environment and doing that in a structured way," Poore said.

The community blueprint is available to view here.

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