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School officials discuss Phoenix

During a recent Selma City School Board work session, the idea was raised of reopening the Phoenix School, relocating alternative school students from Selma High School. -- Rick Couch

The Phoenix School remains on the active list of Selma City School System properties. Sitting vacant, the building serves a purpose as a place for some community meetings but has not served as the system’s alternative school for nearly two years.

Interim superintendent of education Gerald Shirley and some Selma High School administrators would like for the school to be activated, moving students assigned to the alternative school program from Selma High’s campus back out to the Phoenix School property.

“There is a social component here that needs to be considered,” Shirley told members of the Selma City School Board during a recent board work session. “There is a need for these students to not be in the general population.”

Currently, students who are assigned for the alternative school program for whatever reason are kept at the Selma High campus, reducing, what some call the punitive effect of the punishment.

“They see their same friends. They are in the same place as they were before they got in trouble,” Selma High School principal Wanda McCall told board members. “I am having to deal with their discipline. My assistant principals have to deal with their discipline. This is something that needs to change.”

Shirley brought up the idea of reopening the school during the recent work session, saying the system is continuing to pay utilities and other expenses for the building and that any additional staffing needs for restarting the school would be covered by Title I and other assigned funds.