School closures possible for one southern Indiana district
New Albany's Silver Street Elementary School
By Carrie Weil
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) -- The New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation has some tough decisions ahead. They have to decide whether to draw new boundaries lines for some of its elementary schools or even close some all together. For two years, a committee has been meeting to find the best solution. But parents say they can't get any answers. WAVE 3's Carrie Weil worked to get them results.
All may be quiet at Silver Street Elementary in New Albany, but it is what's being said behind closed doors that is causing an uproar.
"I tried to attend a meeting and I was escorted out by Dr. Brooks. He said no -- these are closed door meetings," said Kathy Ayers, a concerned parent.
The meetings Ayers referred to are of the Resources for Results committee. After a phone call to the school corporation, I received a fax which says, "The committee is looking at ways to make the district more efficient by examining boundary lines and how students are assigned."
But committee meeting notes leaked in the community and given to WAVE 3 show that closing certain elementary schools, including Silver Street, are clearly options.
"I know various people have called the school corporation and asked. Through PR they were told no, they were just discussing redistricting, no closings of any schools. Then we got the notes and we saw the truth," Ayers said.
No one from the school corporation would sit down with me for an on-camera interview. By phone, they did tell me that they are not trying to be super secretive with this community. In fact, they say all community meetings are closed to the press and the public. If they weren't, they say it would change the dynamic of communication and decision making.
President Bush visited Silver Street Elementary in March 2007 because of its academic success.
Susan Nicholson had four children attend Silver Street. She doesn't understand how the school is good enough for the President, but not the district.
"Why close they school that has the highest numbers, that has the exemplary rating and as a taxpayer why should we be given the choice to send our child to another school that has lower performance than what we have?" said Nicholson.
The committee is scheduled to present its recommendations in August, but for Ayers and Nicholson, the plan gets an "F."
"I want to be part of the process. I don't want to get, ‘Ok, here's your options. What do you think after the fact?'" says Ayers.
The earliest any changes will be made is the 2009-2010 school year.
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