Proposed Birmingham school closings concern families

Members of the Birmingham Board of Education at Jackson-Olin High School Wednesday night. (

It will take $17 million to get Birmingham Schools in line with state financial requirements. State educators have proposed 7 schools with dwindling populations need to close and consolidate 11. The consolidations would include eliminating 133 positions. Wednesday night, a final community meeting addressed safety and transportation.

One of the big concerns from Parents is *how* their children get to school. One of the big concerns from parents was their children walking down 20th Street in Ensley. But administration leaders say, their aim is to make sure everyone can get to campus safely.
"Walking to school is dangerous," Chasity King, a Daniel Payne 7th grader said. "You might get robbed, someone might not be paying attention."
"Crossing 20th Street is a safety concern," Waenda Murray, Central Elementary teacher said. "I would be interested to find out how that is going to be handled."
The state says safety will be a priority. District Transportation plans to add buses and routes to keep children out of danger.
"If you have a situation where we didn't pick it up, that is, there is a hazardous condition we were unaware of, then they'll go to the school and since we will know this decision well in advance, we'll have plenty of time to work it out before next Fall," Dr. Ed Richardson, State Appointed Chief Financial Officer said.
Kindergarten teacher Waenda Murray is worried about the impact to the communities..
"If you remove a school from a community, you literally kill the community," Murray said.
"Scared to be bullied and stuff," Jumeia Jordan, a middle school student said. "It's a terrible idea to close down Daniel Payne."
"I was sad and upset because I don't want to go to Carver," Jukeria Jordan, a middle school student said. "It's like 9-12 graders and they're a bad influence on us."
The state says each campus will have separate entrances, separate lunches, and separate schedules. And If they consolidate campuses, administrators say the district will have the opportunity to bring back electives and academic programs lost after cuts.
Dr. Richardson will present his final proposal Tuesday, before calling for a vote.
The board may also sell its office on Park Place. That move may raise enough money to cover one month's operating expense.