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Charlotte Area News

Bishop Spaugh Middle: 'We're Gonna Go Out On The Top Of Our Game'

http://66.225.205.104/JR20101110a.mp3

The CMS school board approved a plan last night to disband three west side middle schools - JT Williams, Bishop Spaugh and Wilson. The students will attend elementary schools in the area, which will now house kindergarten through 8th grades. District officials say the move will save money and improve student performance by avoiding the disruption of transitioning to middle school. Many students at those three middle schools see this as a demotion. Just when they're starting to feel grown up, the district is sending them back to elementary school where they'll share the halls with kindergartners. But Bishop Spaugh officials are trying to put a positive spin on the news. "We might be closing, but we're not closed yet," says Spaugh's Dean of Students John Floyd. "What we're gonna do is we're gonna go out on top of our game. So when people ever hear about Spaugh, later on down the road, they'll say this school went out on top." Floyd says counselors were on hand this morning for kids upset by the closure decision. Teachers used it as a writing assignment so students could get their feelings out. "This is an emotional thing," says Denise Watts, CMS administrator for the district's central zone, which includes three middle schools that will close, as well as Waddell High. Teachers at those schools are now asking Watts if they'll have jobs next year. "I've tried to minimize that and say 'Do your job, do it well and your employment for next year is secure,'" says Watts. CMS has not said how many jobs will be cut because of the school closings and consolidations. All told, the changes will give the district a savings of about $3 million next year and $6.5 million each year after that.