Locals unhappy with Carver Middle School closure

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A large crowd of people showed up at the Meridian School Board meeting Monday to voice their concerns about the closure of Carver Middle School.

There is no new information on plans for the school, but the district did listen to public comments. People who spoke out had three requests. One is transparency moving forward in the decision-making process.

“They’re disappointed in the fact that to hear of the closing of Carver, it’s a historic school. There’s a lot of history, and we feel as though there should have been more transparency and community engagement, knowledge, before such a decision of this magnitude was made,” said Pastor Gary Houston.

The second request is that the building be used in a positive way to benefit the community.

“If there is a good reason why Carver should be closed, I think we should respect it. But if there’s a viable reason that Carver could stay open and serve the entire community in that area, I think that needs to be heard and respected,” said Pastor Odell Hopkins.

Last, the group wants its unhappiness about Carver being closed to be known.

“I just hate to see this go to waste, and most of the students who come to Carver are from the housing project. These students are just as important as any other student. They have a right to have the best teachers and the best experiences. This is right there in their neighborhood. I’d like to see them continue to enjoy that experience,” said Melba Clark Payne.

Superintendent Dr. Amy Carter shared her thoughts after hearing the citizens’ comments.

“As a former teacher at Carver Middle School, I taught there in my first 6 years in Meridian Public School District. I want to make sure we have open conversation and dialogue about preserving the history of Carver. Mrs. Payne did an awesome job of sharing the significance of Carver Middle School to our community, and we want to make sure that we take every opportunity we can to partner with our community and preserve that history,” said Dr. Carter.

We may learn something new about the actual plans for the building, according to the district, but that may not be until August. The board will hold its public hearing on July 15 at noon, followed by a board meeting at 1 p.m.

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