Parents upset about elementary grade relocation plan

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -  Big changes for another Birmingham school have some parents up in arms. The plan would send elementary students at one school miles away every morning.

There was a meeting about the plan to change Jones Valley K-8 to a middle school and send the K-5 students to a new school in the Oxmoor area. Parents are worried about transportation and traffic problems.

The plan would send 150 or so kindergarten through fifth graders to a new K-5 school under construction in the Oxmoor area roughly four miles away according to Birmingham Superintendent, Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

Many families who live close to Jones Valley K-8 say that’s too far.
“I have a 12 year old and I have a six year old,” said Ferronye Edwards. “I’m going to try to transfer and get my kids at a  school together. And that was the plan. That was the purpose of me having them both here at Jones Valley because they both can attend here together. It’s days where I may be a little bit late getting out of class. My 12 year old can pick my son up and they can walk home to my house, but now with him being over across Lakeshore that’s impossible.”

“My two small ones are 5 and 6 and bussing them is like a panic attack for me because they’ve never been on the bus by themselves, they’ll be on there by themselves,” said Carlithia Kelton.

“We provide wristbands. We know which schools they’re going to. We ask a lot of questions- and then the same thing when students get ready to go home, especially the elementary students at the beginning of the year. We verify their names, again wrist bands, are they getting on the right bus? We check. We double check. We make sure that there’s a parent, someone to receive that child,” said Dr. Craig Witherspoon, Superintendent of Birmingham Schools.

Witherspoon says the K-5 relocation would alleviate overcrowding and eliminate mobile classrooms at Jones Valley K-8 and would allow additional courses to be offered. He says  the plan calls for buses to be provided to students who live two or more miles away and those who would potentially have to walk across Lakeshore Drive.

“The road is narrow and all the traffic in the morning, I think it’s going to be a lot of late students and a lot of early birds also,” said Lashawnta Hodges.

The Birmingham Board of Education is set to vote on the proposed changes Wednesday.

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