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Heated discussion about closing four Richmond schools

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Richmond parents and students had their chance to speak before school board members about the fate of their schools.

CBS 6 spoke with one third grader, Myca Lester, who said she’ll be most upset about being separated from her close friends.  

If Myca’s elementary school is closed, she’ll have to return back to her overcrowded, neighborhood school. Myca told us, that’s a place she resents. 

“They kept on calling me names and they kept on pushing me and everything,” said Myca.

Myca’s classmates were just as worried as they too plead before board members.

“I have seen how hard the teachers work and I have felt the sincere caring our teachers have for us,” said one Richmond fourth grader.

A rezoning committee recommended the school district close at least four schools. The elementary schools in the closing discussion include:

  • Fisher
  • John B. Cary
  • Bellevue
  • Southampton
  • George Mason
  • Summer Hill

“If you're closing it for finances, that's the wrong reason...period,” said one teacher who attended Tuesday night's meeting.

Parent are also upset about the rezoning process. One Richmond mom told CBS 6 she’d like to see the school system focus on its high schools instead.

School board member, Chandra Smith explained it simply comes down to numbers.

Smith told CBS 6 that small, underutilized elementary schools cost the school system more money. “There's a certain number of people that must be in it to cover the cost of running the building,” she said.

Smith said the rezoning committee recommendations are simply that, recommendations. She said there is a chance no schools will be closed at the end of this process. She added the school board needed to study the data the committee handed over.