Richmond school faces closure

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - The first school to become racially integrated in Richmond is facing closure after failing to meet federal academic standards for seven years.

Some school leaders believe closing the Chandler Middle School is the only option at this point -  a move they say could close hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But community members say shuttering the school is not the answer.

From alumni, to parents to just concerned citizens, Richmond city school leaders heard pleas to keep Chandler open from alumni, parents and concerned citizens last week.

Teresa Kersey has a son who attends the school. She says she's seen a postive change in him from his time spent there.

"He improved tremendously," Kersey said. "His grades improved because he was comfortable with the teachers. He could ask questions, he could get help where he needed help out, so I don't think they should close this school."

But school leaders say just improving is not enough, citing the school's inability to meet federal acedemic standards seven years running.

"For the most part, I think people understand why we need to make a serious decision about what happens here," said School Board Vice Chair Kimberly Gray. "We cannot continue to risk our children and their education."

The final public hearing on this issue is this Tuesday, Feb 17 at 4:30 p.m. on the 17th floor of City Hall.

The hearing will taking place just before the school board's next meeting, and several members say they are expecting to vote on a decision for Chandler Middle School that day.

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