Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some Happy, Most Sad at End of School Closure Process

SCS votes to close multiple elementary, middle schools

I've been covering these proposed school closures for months.  Emotional community meetings made news in the recent weeks.  The end came Tuesday night during this school board meeting.  The board voted on the superintendent's revised list.  Some schools were spared.. But most were not.  The district claims closing under-enrolled, under-performing schools is in the best interest of students.  But many parents may never believe that.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Grizzlies "Tattoo" Giveaway Sparks Some Debate

Grizz fans on the fence about temporary neck tattoo

I wasn't excited at all about this story.  I thought anyone who had a problem with this promotion was being unreasonable.  But it sparked quite the discussion in our editorial meeting.  Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on one of the stickers to wear in my live shot.  That got a lot of attention too.  I'll be honest.. it hurt coming off.  Keep that in mind if you go to the game and participate in honoring rising star James Johnson.

Family of 6 Saved From House Fire

Family saved from house fire

"In the right place at the right time" is an over-used phrase.  But it was definitely what saved a Marion, AR family when their house caught fire.  A woman and her teenaged son happened to be in the neighborhood.. and would not have been if they had not missed a Greyhound bus connection.  She's confident the family would have perished.  I was fortunate enough to find the good samaritan and the landlord.  The family was too shaken to talk on camera.. but a family member did give give me their photos.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Willie Herenton Wants School Building, If Closed By SCS

Community meets at middle school to discuss closures

You often need to show up to get a story.  This story is a perfect example of that.  The closure meeting itself was not well attended.. And I wondered what I would do for a 10:00 package.  Then a district official mentioned that former Memphis Mayor (and superintendent) Willie Herenton was interested in the Lanier Middle School building, if closed.  I knew that could be my focus.  Fortunately, Herenton was just a phone call away.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Charter Schools Accused of Unethical Recruiting

Area charter school accused of unethical recruiting

The proposed closure of 13 Shelby County Schools is a highly charged and emotional issue.  Allegations of charter "poaching" were brought to me during the community meeting at Gordon Elementary.  Sources inside the school, in addition to parents, say people working on behalf of two nearby charters told lies in order to recruit their children.  Low enrollment at Gordon is the primary reason it is on the proposed closure list.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Public Comments Get Personal During Closure Meeting

SCS could close school because of building's condition

I did a story last week on how Shelby County Schools determined the most effective way to hold public meetings on proposed school closures was to collect comments on index cards.  The rules were changed following criticism from parents and my story.  Some officials may be having second thoughts after this meeting at Westhaven Elementary.  The comments were heated and passionate.. And got personal at one point.