SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Three failing Caddo Parish schools are on the chopping block.
Thursday night, schools Superintendent Lamar Goree proposed closing Atkins Elementary, Queensborough Elementary and Lakeshore Middle.
All three are classified as academically unacceptable schools, meaning they've had failing scores for at least four consecutive years.
Goree noted that Fair Park High would be turned into a middle school after those students merge with Booker T. Washington High as proposed earlier this year.
Now the decision to close the schools rests in the hands of the Caddo School Board members.
They'll make a final decision on the three proposed closures and the proposed high school merger when they meet March 21.
Not everyone is happy with the proposals. Some see it as based on a community divide.
"We're about to have ghost towns in our African American communities with no schools," said Lloyd Thompson, president of the Shreveport unit of the NAACP.
"We have got to slow the train down. Think of another way to save our school system besides closing all the schools on my side of the tracks."
Another concerned citizen weighed in: "We are talking about taking children and putting them into other institutions that are already inferior academically. What are they going to get?"
Goree acknowledged the community divide and encouraged folks to unite over a decision that will be best for all the students.
"We have probably one of the largest racial divides that I've experienced," he said. "At the same time, research shows that we also have one of the largest financial divides in the country.
"So I do believe there is an absolute need for some type of reconciliation type activities to really bridge the gap between our white and our black community," the superintendent continued.
"The School District is certainly willing to be a catalyst to make that happen. But we need the people to come along and work with us."
What happens if School Board members vote against the proposed closures?
Will the state take over the schools?
"The state is very excited about what the Caddo Parish School District is doing," Goree said.
"It's very clear they have no intentions of taking any schools within our School District."