When the Shelby County Schools board voted to close two of its most anemic high schools last month, it seemed like the end of the story. In fact, the debate is continuing as the timelines for shuttering Northside and George Washington Carver high schools get a second look this week.
School board members on Tuesday are expected to revisit their decision to close Northside High School at the end of the next school year, in 2017. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson recommended the school be closed this year, but Chairwoman Teresa Jones — in whose district the high school sits — garnered enough votes to delay the closing one year.
Since then, Hopson said 18 of the school’s 20 teachers have left the school already, leaving the district scrambling to recruit teachers for the short-term assignment.
Jones said the school board will discuss moving up the school’s closure back to Hopson’s original plan. The discussion and possible vote will happen after the board’s work session meeting Tuesday during a special-call meeting.
And supporters of keeping Carver High School open are asking around for lawyers willing to take their cause to court. Carver alumnus and nearby pastor Ralph White is holding a prayer vigil at 6 p.m. Monday at the school and could announce that the group plans to sue to keep the school open.
White has been meeting with community members since the board voted to close the 59-year-old high school earlier this month. The school had been up for closure several times in recent years because of poor academic performance and low enrollment. Alumni and some community members put together a plan to save the school, saying the district had failed to support the school adequately, contributing to its decline.
“We’re going to take it to court,” White said earlier this month after the board signed off on Hopson’s recommendation to close Carver immediately. “We’ll take this as far as we can.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the suggested amendment to Northside’s closure.