Petition circulates over Richmond elementary school closure - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Petition circulates over Richmond elementary school closure

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A petition is circulating online in reaction to the possible closing of Clark Springs Elementary School in Richmond.

Last month, the Richmond School Board suggested closing Clark Springs Elementary, and filtering those students into John B. Cary Elementary School.

However, the petition calls for adding William Fox and Mary Munford Elementary Schools into the mix. The petition expresses concern that combining two schools would pack Cary Elementary with an additional 300-plus children. It suggests redrawing the Museum District's school zone so that some of those students would attend Fox or Munford Elementary Schools. Supporters say this would alleviate potential crowding at Cary Elementary.

"The resulting (school zone)… would be rather large," said the petition's creator, Scott Henry, of combining Cary and Clark Springs Elementary Schools.

Henry has two children soon to be attending Cary Elementary. He says a bigger school zone would take away from Cary's "neighborhood feel."

"My belief is neighborhood schools provide much better educational opportunities for children, as well as run more efficiently…. Studies have shown that," added Henry.

Henry believes rezoning some of the students who live in the Museum District to either Fox or Munford schools, would help foster each elementary as a "neighborhood school."  

If Clark Springs Elementary School students were to filter into John B. Cary Elementary, Richmond School Board Chairman Jeffrey Bourne says the capacity of Cary would still be under by about 50 children.

"We always want to be mindful of the numbers and how many students we have in each of our school buildings," said Bourne.

Bourne says the closure will save half a million dollars, during a tight budget.

"Facilities, maintenance…We've got a lot of costs that we have to incur…We have enrollment that's not growing at the pace we'd like it to," added Bourne.

Bourne says the school board will be considering redrawing school zone lines as the discussion of school closures develops.

Antwan Sutherlin, a father of two at Cary Elementary, suggested filtering Clark Springs students into all three schools- Cary, Fox and Munford Elementary Schools.

Sutherlin says this would give students more equal and fair access to education.

The Richmond School Board is set to announce its final decisions on which schools will be closed on April 26.

Three public hearings will follow before a final vote.

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