APS unveils plan to consolidate elementary schools

One school will close completely and two others will be consolidated if school board members approve a proposal from the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools.

Dr. Meria Carstarphen hosted a town hall meeting about the proposal at Maynard Jackson High School Monday night. The schools affected are all in the Jackson cluster.

“We’ve stretched our resources so far that we’re unable to provide the kinds of resources that these smaller schools need,” explained Dr. Carstarphen.

The plan would close Whitefoord Elementary School, which has an enrollment of 272 students. Those students would be absorbed into Toomer and Burgess-Peterson elementary schools. 

The APS proposal would also move the 310 students at Benteen in with the 265 at D.H. Stanton Elementary, which has a larger building.

Carstarphen said the plan takes into account the conditions of the schools, future SPLOST fund allocations and the availability of other on-site programs. She said consolidating schools will allow the district to offer more dedicated resources to students like special education, school nurses and psychologists.

Many parents, however, are upset by the prospect of moving their children.

“That’s all I’m hearing is money and numbers and you’re supposed to be trying to protect our children’s future and better their education and I’m just not seeing it,” said Deundre Myricks, who has two students at Benteen.

Monday’s meeting was just the first of several scheduled to address the proposal. APS will host public hearings at Whitefoord Elementary on February 15 and at Benteen Elementary on March 1. The plan will go before the board of education on March 6.

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