by Trenae V. McDuffie for NewsWorks
Parents, teachers, students, community activists, and elected officials again packed the Martin Luther King High School auditorium Thursday night with concerns, recommendations, and questions for Superintendent William Hite and District officials regarding the plan to close 37 school buildings and relocate or reconfigure more.
Similar to other school-closure meetings, many held signs, chanted, and shouted cheers regarding the numerous Northwest Planning Area schools involved.
Fighting for Northwest schools
Minutes before the meeting began, supporters of Jay Cooke Elementary School, near Broad and Louden Streets, chanted, "Stars are born at Jay Cooke."
First in line to address District officials was student Shamar Haynesworth.
"We don't want Jay Cooke to close," Haynesworth said. "We have a valuable school. It's great."
Melanie Haynesworth, Cooke's Home and School group president, then said she was amazed that her son has taken such a vocal stand.
"It's the importance of keeping the school open," she said. "We have a health center there and numerous programs in the school. And if you close the school, those programs are gone, too. You have a health center where almost 200 people ... still utilize that building."