Carver, Westwood Off School-Closing List

Thursday, December 12, 2013, Vol. 128, No. 242

Carver High School has survived another attempt to close it.

Small and declining enrollment at Carver since the 1980s led Memphis City Schools leaders to propose closing the school several times. And in April, Shelby County Schools leaders put the South Memphis high school on a list of schools for possible closure, citing low enrollment, under-utilization of the building and low student performance.

But alumni and residents in the community again rallied and suggested that Shelby County Schools leaders instead consider closing nearby Riverview Middle School and making Carver a sixth- to 12th-grade school.

That’s the recommendation Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson made Tuesday, Dec. 10, to the school board for the 2014-2015 school year, which begins in August.

The shuffle of the list of 12 schools under consideration in April now totals 13.

For now, no school board vote is scheduled on the closings and transfers. The school system plans to hold three or four more public hearings to gauge community reaction to the plans for the four new schools on the list.

Hopson is also recommending Westwood High School come off the list of possible closures with the new school year in August. Northside High School remains on the list.

E.A. Harrold Elementary School in Millington is also off the list because it will be part of the Millington municipal school district.

Westwood High is off the list because Fairley High School is expected to become part of the state-run Achievement School District. That district’s leaders will announce Thursday the new schools they will take in for the 2014-2015 school year. Fairley would have been the school Westwood students would have been transferred to without Fairley’s inclusion in the Achievement School District.

There are four new schools that the school system will explore closing.

• Riverview Middle School could close, and its students would be sent to Carver High School, making Carver a sixth- to 12th-grade school.

• Vance Middle School could close. Its students would go to Booker T. Washington High School, which would also become a sixth- to 12th-grade school.

• Cypress Middle School is on the list for a possible merger into Grandview Heights Middle School.

• Klondike Elementary School could close, with its students going to Vollentine Elementary School.

“The overwhelming majority of these schools are in low-performing status and are underused,” Hopson said. “It simply is not in kids’ interest to keep open poor performing schools that are under-enrolled.”

Eight other elementary and middle schools remain under consideration for possible closure.

They are Alcy, Gordon, Graves, Riverview, Shannon and Westhaven Elementary Schools and Corry and Lanier Middle School.