Birmingham parents disagree with school relocation

Birmingham school campuses will look different next school year. The state has asked the board to close several school campuses. {}It's to get Birmingham in line with state financial requirements. Monday night, students and parents at Jones Valley Elementary learned about new changes to their campus. {}The school board is considering making Jones Valley a middle school and moving the younger students to the new Oxmoor Elementary school, but that proposal didn't sit well with parents. "We send our children to school everyday in the care of people who we know are going to send them back home safely," Jameria Ogunmakin, a parent said. "I don't feel that way anymore."Jameria is a Jones Valley parent. {}Her main concerns with her children moving to Oxmoor are distance and safety."There's a lot of accidents that happen on Lakeshore Parkway in that vicinity," Ogunmakin said.Other parents feel the same."It's hard taking a child out of a place they are used to, to somewhere they don't even know anything about," LaShawenta Hodges, a parent said."I was like, oh no, again? They just changed him from Wenonah," Martha Anthony, a parent said."If they are taking students away from Jones Valley, how are they going to keep the population where it's supposed to be with the students who are here?" Carla Thornton, another parent told us.{}Since the district built the new Oxmoor campus, Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon proposed moving elementary students there and changing Jones Valley to a middle school."Bus locations and pick up and drop off times are currently being evaluated and coordinated," Dr. Witherspoon said.Dr. Richardson says the move does not impact finances and doesn't count towards a required operating reserve. The Jones Valley move is simply a matter of decreasing an overcrowding campus."This is Jones Valley - it's overcrowded," Dr. Ed Richardson, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer said. "It has four portable classrooms and it needs some relief in its population."{}Parents say the format of the community meeting was frustrating a moderator read comments from cards."I do think parents want their heartfelt feelings to come from themselves and not someone else," Ogunmakin said. "It makes a big difference in who's saying it and how it's being said."Tuesday night, the Board of Education will address the relocation of staff at the campuses being consolidated. {}Dr. Richardson said his aim is to make sure everyone knows where they where headed come time for school this Fall.