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Save Our School Members Hold Press Conference

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

 “Neighborhood schooling is a way to re-segregate the schools. I'm opposed to segregation.” Amelia Gerrald-Tsukuda said.

Dothan City Schools Superintendent Tim Wilder formed a preliminary plan.
It's to reconfigure the city's four middle schools.
But it's not sitting well with many people.

In an effort to try and provide equal opportunities, Wilder proposed to eliminate two of the city's magnet middle schools and possibly switch to neighborhood schools.
Word of this spread like wildfire and now residents are firing back.

“Neighborhood schooling is a way to re-segregate the schools. I'm opposed to segregation.” Amelia Gerrald-Tsukuda said.

However wilder's supporters say that is already problem.
They say losing the magnet schools won't change it.

“They're already segregated. They are more segregated now than they were 10 years ago.” Dothan Resident Kasey Wood said.

But that's not the only issue.
Many worry if the magnet schools are taken away, public enrollment will plummet.

“If enough parents really get dissatisfied with this, it will cause a spur in enrollment of private schools and a rapid departure of public schools.” Dothan resident John Foster said.

“I have two girls in Beverlye Magnet School. And I left private school with the promise that we were about to start magnet schools a few years back.” Sharon Lewis-Saliba said.

Supporters say those opposed aren't thinking about the bigger picture of equality.

“Even at Gerard and honey suckle there are gifted kids in both school, extremely smart kids in both of those schools but they’re not given the opportunity to go to magnet schools because the magnet schools here have limits.” Wood said.

Instead of two magnet middle schools, Wilder's proposal is to make all four middle schools public.
All of them would have enrichment programs and classes.
He says that would allow students at any of the middle schools to have the same opportunities as those students who were going to magnet schools.
There have not been any set plans by the school board to go ahead with this idea.
However those against it say they are speaking now to stop it from ever happening.

“We see organizations promoting that say one step closer so im afraid if we sit back and wait for a real proposal to be given to us, it will be signed off on it.” Save Our Schools, member Rhonda Pasibe said.

“Everyone who is fussing about it and getting on their high horse about it they need to listen to what Mr. Wilder has to say first, before they start forming an opinion.” Wood said,

Members of "Yes We Can Dothan" say a real proposal has not even been submitted yet.
They say until one is, they will not have an opinion.


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