SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Caddo School Board tonight voted to bring two well-known Shreveport high schools together.
The vote was 8-4 to merge Fair Park and Booker T Washington.
The proposal still must gain state approval.
And even then, Caddo School District leaders say, the issue still might have to be settled in court.
The board's vote came after hours of citizens are airing their thoughts on the proposed merger.
It was standing room only at the School Board meeting. People began arriving an hour early to ensure they had a seat at the gathering that got underway about 4:30 p.m.
The discussions are so acrimonious, speakers on behalf of Fair Park and Booker T Washington can't even agree on whether the two schools are rivals.
Fair Park supporters pleaded to keep their school's 98-year tradition going.
Those who support the merger argued that Fair Park has had an "F" rating for more than a decade and still could be taken over by the state.
Last year, Booker T. Washington High had a "D' rating. That was an improvement after a stretch of "F" ratings.
The merger would bring together Fair Park's 700 students with 300 Booker T Washington high schoolers, making the merged school's enrollment about 1,000.
All would attend classes on the Booker T Washington campus.
Ninth- through 12th-graders would attend Booker T. Washington High.
Fair Park High would become strictly a middle school.
The combining of resources would save money, supporters say.
School Board members' hope is that plan will be approved before the start of the 2017-18 academic year.