Parents with the Atlanta Public School system took their concerns over school closures to the superintendent.
The Douglas High School auditorium was packed Monday night with 720 parents demanding answers from Superintendent Erroll Davis.
Parents want to know, of the 13 schools that may close, why aren’t more of them in north Atlanta.
“We just want equality from a black representative on our board,” an attendee said.
Many at the first public regional redistricting meeting said they feel that too many of the school closures were in lower income, mostly black communities.
“Did all of you go out in the community and see how your system is going to affect the community?” an attendee said.
Davis told the parents and community members that tough decisions had to be made and his decisions had nothing to do with race or class, but, in many cases, low enrollment.
“Heating, cooling and lighting 13,000 empty seats – we’re doing a disservice to the children,” Davis said.
Davis said closing one school could save the district $500,000, but many who came out and wanted to speak said their school is a sense of pride in their community.
“At Fain Elementary, we have 470 students and we are still getting students daily. Can you please help us understand that?” Tommy Tyson said.
Not all of the speakers were parents or educators. A few were actual students who do not want to see their schools close.
“I am asking you to save my school from closing. There are a lot of great teachers at Margaret Fain, especially mine,” first-grader Kaitlyn Moore said.
“I hear those things. I want you to know I am not oblivious or insensitive to those things,” Davis said.
Monday night’s was the first of several meetings where the district will get public input. Another is scheduled for Tuesday.
Davis may or may not change his plans based on the feedback, and then he will present it to the school board on April 10, where they will make the final decision on any closures.