NAACP of Saginaw speaks out on school closings - WNEM TV 5

NAACP of Saginaw speaks out on school closings

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Mid-Michigan residents are hoping to prevent two local schools from closing their doors for good.

Saginaw's Jessie Loomis Academy and Saginaw High are on the chopping block this year after making a list of 38 low performing schools.

Local activists raised awareness of the issue outside Saginaw High Monday morning, holding signs as students entered.

The Saginaw NAACP held a press conference Monday to express their concerns.

"We're very frustrated and quite frankly outright mad about the actions of the Michigan Office of School Reform," said Leola Wilson, president of the Saginaw NAACP.

The state office of school reform is weighing the option of closing both schools. It's a move Wilson said would destroy neighborhoods.

"The school districts and the neighborhood school is what often holds the whole community together," Wilson said.

The NAACP held a press conference urging the state to look at other options for the troubled schools.

""Simply closing the building in the minds of many of us doesn't solve the real problem - academic performance. I mean if all those children end up transferring to another school all you've done is transplanted the problem," said Terry Pruitt.

As for Wilson, she said the city has spent a lot of taxpayer money on renovation and construction at both of the schools. She fears taxpayers would also have to foot the bill to retire debt for the buildings that would be closed.

Wilson believes the state should work with Saginaw to keep the schools open instead of shutting them down at taxpayer expense.

"This creates a lot of problems within the school district and the people that create the problem don't seem to have the wherewithal to know how to interact with the total community to truly solve those problems," Wilson said.

State officials toured the schools on Monday. Protesters greeted them.

"If the people that live here feel like it should stay open I don't feel like the state has [the] right to come in and just do what they feel like doing because it affects us and not them," said Charles Townsell, Saginaw High graduate.

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