Members of the Tyler ISD school board met with some concerned citizens Tuesday night about how the district's long range plan could affect their local middle school.
The district is considering re-purposing A. T. Stewart Middle School, which could mean turning the building into an alternative school.
People filled St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Tyler to hear what Tyler ISD plans to do with A. T. Stewart Middle School.
The school board is considering selling the district's current alternative school, the Plyler center, and turning Stewart Middle School into the new alternative school.
The proposed changes are a part of the district's long range plan to reshape Tyler schools by 2020.
Many in the community wanted to know why the district wants to change a school that's doing so well.
"We want to keep our community together and I really don't see a good reason why this is happening," says Kimberly Reedy a Stewart Middle School mother.
School board members say re-purposing Stewart Middle School will allow the district to make schools more efficient, offering students more programming.
One board member says she understands why some are upset about the proposed plan.
"It's the historical significance of this school and what it has done in the lives of African American children. If you go back, this was an African American school, it served the Negro children because the children were not allowed to go anywhere else," says Orenthia Mason, a TISD board member.
Still, Mason says they are asking the community to trust them.
"We're going to listen to the community, we're going to take the comments and we hope they come and be a part of committees so that their plans will be made, their voices will be heard. All I can say to them is just believe."
The school board told the audience that nothing is concrete, they are simply exploring options to decide what is best academically for all of the district's students.
If Stewart Middle School is re-purposed, students who would have gone to that school will be bused to different middle schools, possibly Boulter Middle School and a new middle school that may be built.
This part of the district's plan might come up in their May board meeting. If it's approved during that meeting, the community could see changes within the next two years.
TISD says no matter what happens to A. T. Stewart Middle School, no teachers or faculty members from that school will lose their jobs.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics