First community meeting held over proposed Birmingham school clo

First community meeting held over proposed Birmingham school closings

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Daniel Payne Middle School students are protesting at the community meeting. Source: Jonathan Hardison Daniel Payne Middle School students are protesting at the community meeting. Source: Jonathan Hardison
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The community has the first of three chances Monday night to sound off on the proposed Birmingham City Schools savings plan, which includes closing seven schools and laying off 133 workers.

Monday's meeting is held at Carver High School and residents will have a chance to express their concerns about the savings plan, which is expected to save the system $8 million and bring their budget in line with state law.

Members of the public were asked to write down any questions or concerns they had on note cards, and those cards were then read by officials. Not everyone was pleased with the system, and one person was even escorted from the meeting by a police officer.

Parents and teachers expressed concerns about topics ranging from potential overcrowding to what the BOE would do with empty buildings once some schools are shut down. But the biggest topic seemed to be how prudent it would be to consolidate some seventh and eighth grade students at with high schoolers.

Dr. Stephannie Huey says she's taught at the middle school and high school level, and doesn't think the two will mix well.

"[Middle schoolers] will be exposed to more sexual activity, drugs, also smoking cigarettes. Those things are going on at the high school level...we have seventh and eigth graders that are innocent so why expose them?" she said.

Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon tried to reassure community members by clarifying that the consolidated schools with different grade levels would have seperate entrances, staff and even bus schedules.

Additional meetings will be held at Huffman High School Tuesday, March 5 and at Jackson-Olin High School Wednesday, March 6. Both meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m.

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