Walker County schools may close for good

Parents fought for their children's schools Thursday night at the Walker County Board of Education meeting, which was held to discuss the proposed permanent closings of T.S. Boyd Elementary, Sipsey Elementary and Parrish High School.

The meeting, which was packed with concerned students, parents and teachers, was the first opportunity for the community to voice their opinions on the issue since board members said they may close the schools due to performance and funding problems.{}

"This could affect businesses in the area," said Lisa Cordell, a former teacher at Sipsey Elementary.

Georgia Harris, whose grandchildren attend T.S. Boyd, is taking the possible school closing personal and asked the board one very important question:

"You want to take this away from my neighborhood, where do we have left to go?"

Many of the parents and students in attendance were united by matching purple shirts, which were worn to express their pride in their schools and show their support in keeping the facilities open. Also, supporters held red, paper hearts with the names of all three schools on the cut-outs.

"This is a heartbreaking decision," Parrish Mayor Cedrick Ramsey said. "We have a proud history and tradition in our school and to see the books close, that's upsetting."

Ramsey wants the county to keep the schools open, but his opinion doesn't appear to matter as some board members have already made up their minds to proceed with the closures.

"It's not just a Parrish issue, it's a county-wide issue," Walker County Superintendent Jason Adkins said.

According to Adkins, the board is expected to make its final decision based on the long-term effects on the students. As of now, members feel the best move would be to consolidate the schools.

"These students that have had the least for so long stand to gain the most," Adkins said. "But the whole system stands to gain as well."

Students at T.S. Boyd and Sipsey will likely be going to Sumiton Elementary while the students at Parrish High School will likely be going to either Oakman or Cordova High.

The board will vote on its final decision at its next meeting, which is set for April 10 at 4:30 p.m.