Principals fight for schools, want more participation

Published 10:11 pm Monday, March 7, 2011

The Selma City School Board will hold its third town hall meeting concerning the possible closures of Byrd Elementary School and School of Discovery tonight at 6 p.m. in the J.A. Pickard Auditorium.

Some school officials say the school closings will save the Selma City School System money, but those in charge of the targeted schools believe otherwise.

Beth Taylor, principal of Byrd, is disappointed by the possibility of Byrd closing.

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“The No. 1 thing is we have to consider the safety of our children,” Taylor said. “We realize we may have to consolidate due to the construction of the new Selma High School, but we’re hoping the city can look at Byrd’s many positives and consider the negatives of the other schools.”

Gerald Shirley, principal of School of Discovery, said the school helps students make an “easy transition” from elementary to middle school. Shirley hopes to see a greater amount of participation from parents tonight, especially from those whose children attended the school.

“This school helps children to get adjusted physiologically, psychologically and academically for the seventh grade,” Shirley said. “This meeting will give parents the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive and they can voice their pleasures and displeasures.”

School of Discovery is considered a “community school,” meaning it serves sixth graders throughout Selma and serves the needs of the community through performances in its auditorium. Shirley said the possibility of the school closing would be “devastating.”

Selma City Schools superintendent Don Jefferson said he and Shirley have been in talks discussing 20 suggestions and possibilities of what should be done about the schools, which could be scheduled to close in 2013.

“We’re taking it one step at a time,” Jefferson said. “We have some ideas and we want to allow the people within the community to discuss their thoughts and opinions. We want to listen.”