MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A night after the Memphis/Shelby County Unified School Board asked for tens of millions of dollars in extra funds, parents at one school up for closure under a new consolidation plan want to know why some of that money can't be used to save their beloved school.
More than 70 parents and teachers packed a community meeting with school administrators to discuss the possible closure of Orleans Elementary School in South Memphis.
"Why pick on us? What have we done to them?" asked Katherine Hill, who has three grandchildren at Orleans. Hill has had an additional five grandkids graduate from Orleans.
Memphis City School administrators want to close Orleans and have students go to nearby Lincoln Elementary. Orleans has suffered from dwindling enrollment for years, and is forecasted to lose even more students in the years to come.
"I feel like my kid deserves the same education as the kids in neighborhoods with more money," said Jasmine Daily, who has two children at Orleans. "I feel like they are targeting the poorer neighborhoods and I don't feel like it is fair."
"I feel like they are trying to prepare our kids for jail," she added.
Daily says she doesn't feel at home at Lincoln, noting the bars on the windows.
"How can kinds feel comfortable and learn in a school with bars on the windows?" Daily asked.
In addition to Orleans, administrators want to close Coro Lake Elementary, Norris Elementary, White's Chapel Elementary, and Humes Middle School.
Closing the schools will save the district more than $3 million.
The 23-member Unified School Board will vote on the closure plan on March 26th.