Thursday, November 09, 2006

Neighborhood schools

The following announcement is a banner across the top of the Litton High School alumni page:


Come to Isaac Litton Middle School on Tuesday, November 14th at 6:00 PM to discuss the current condition of our school. As the PTA President, I support Litton alumni efforts to renovate the old gym because it is part of the revitalization of Inglewood. However, some at the Board of Education want to shut it down and if they do, they may also sell the entire 11 plus acres to an apartment developer. Those were the wishes of the former BOE member, Lisa Hunt. Your support and presence will be appreciated. Wendy Poston '77, President, ILMS PTA

While Lisa Hunt has moved on to Houston and is no longer the BOE rep and those apartment complex plans may have changed, the fact remains that that 11 acres on Gallatin Road could be prime development pickings. All it's going to take is for Metro Nashville Public Schools to continue to let the building decay to a point where it's cost prohibitive to repair and Inglewood becomes dramatically different. All that's left of the original Litton High is the gymnasium which MNPS has not maintained well, if at all. I blogged about this earlier here and here. Mike Byrd gave us his perspective of the stewardship of Jones Paideia a year ago here and here. Here's part of what Mike wrote:
Unlike suburban public schools, schools close to the center city often act as one of a few anchors for the walkable neighborhood. When they are good, they are one of the few institutions that actually attract families, rather than upwardly mobile singles or older adults, back to urban neighborhoods, because families with kids require good schools.


As I told you, the destruction done by closing these schools also rips like shrapnel across the fabric of urban neighborhoods. The closure of neighborhood schools represents the closure of neighborhood centers and the closure of the familial dimensions of those neighborhoods.
And it's true. Good schools are an anchor for and an asset to the community.

I plan on being at this meeting. I hope others in the Inglewood community, the Litton community and proponents of neighborhood schools will also attend to support this effort. Here we have a school that is doing well and meeting the needs of the students--well except for the fresh water issue, lack of enough essential readers and AC in the gymnasium (Mayor Purcell may remember how hot it is on the first day of school.) These children and families need you to attend this meeting on November 14 at 6:00 p.m. The school is located at 4601 Hedgewood. Unfortunately, you can't get there from Gallatin Road, you've got to go around 'back' and enter from the neighborhood.

I'll see you there.

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