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School closings upset DeKalb parents | Education

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School closings upset DeKalb parents

DEKALB COUNTY -- MeadowView Elementary is a tiny school in South DeKalb which may not be around much longer. It's on a list of schools DeKalb wants to close, a disquieting plan in these parts.

"I really like the school. I like the teachers," said Cynthia Edwards, a mother who was outside the school picking up her fourth grader Wednesday.

"And if you close this school, it's gonna break my tiny little heart," said her daughter Deanna Baker.

DeKalb has broken hearts before in search of efficiency and savings, and is poised to do it again. MeadowView is one of eight elementary schools the county proposes to close. The county says it would save $4 million by doing so. Most of the proposed school closings are in South DeKalb -- an area struggling with hard economic times.

The plan also proposes sending 6th, 7th and 8th graders to three high school buildings, bypassing separate middle schools.

"Omigod. no," said Betty Blanchard, the mother of a MeadowView fourth grader, when told that DeKalb could send her daughter from fifth grade to a high school setting.

A DeKalb school spokesman says it does make some sense. "Districts around the nation and in our area are questioning the value of middle schools," spokesman Jeff Dickerson says. "Other districts that do this do a very good job of segregating the students by age."

But among parents of preteens, it's a tough sell.

"Terrible idea," said Edwards. "You want to continuously try to keep those younger kids away from the influence of the older kids. The older kids are just doing too much now to put them together."

Dickerson stresses that the proposal "isn't set in stone" and is subject to revision following public input.