Have you ever heard anything this crazy? One middle school has lousy scores so they’re closing it and sending the kids to schools that are just as bad! What a crock! Why not HELP the school and the kids. How do they expect everyone to pass the test when half the kids don’t speak English yet????

Webb WildcatOh, also look at how many of the kids are low income and how many are not white. Think they’d do this at a school where all the kids are white?

Webb Middle School parents react to closure proposal

Most of more than 200 people at meeting scorn proposal.

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AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Friday, January 26, 2007

More than 200 people packed a cafeteria at Webb Middle School on Thursday,
most of them to condemn a proposal to close the campus in May because
of students’ poor performance on state standardized tests.

“This school doesn’t even have enough textbooks to send home with the children so they can study,” said Melissa Mullins, parent of a sixth-grader. “They need more assistance, not less.”

Austin Superintendent Pat Forgione said he wants the school board to order the
campus, just west of Interstate 35 off St. Johns Avenue, closed before the state does.

The school has received the state’s lowest rating for three years, and if the students fail to meet passing standards in any area on the state achievement test this spring, the state could require closing or alternative management.

School board members, many of whom were in attendance Thursday, are expected to vote on Forgione’s proposal next month.

“We must think this through and do what’s best for our children,” Forgione
said, adding that Webb’s faculty and campus advisory council support his recommendation.

Almost one-third of Webb’s 663 students come from families that constantly move into and out of the area, which can reverse test gains. Nine of 10 Webb students are from low-income families. About half don’t understand English.

Nearly 40 percent of Webb’s teachers declined to return to the campus last year, one of
the highest teacher turnover rates among Austin middle schools.

During the meeting, some questioned why the district would abandon Webb when
Johnston High School, which received the state’s lowest rating for the past three years, is in a similar situation.

District officials have said that unlike at Webb, Austin has received state and private
grants to restructure Johnston as part of a nationwide trend to remake high schools. The district has not formulated a plan for redesigning middle schools.

Timing was another consideration, Forgione said in a 45-minute explanation of the situation.

Because of the opening of Garcia Middle School this fall, space for Webb students is available at two nearby schools, Dobie and Pearce. By consolidating and being more efficient with resources, the considerations of the taxpayers are also being addressed, Forgione said.

The closure also gives the district a facility in which it could put an all-boys school or middle school for immigrant students, he said.

The audience wasn’t swayed.

“You are sending our kids to two of the worst schools in this city,” said Elaine Roth, parent of a 13-year-old daughter.

Dobie and Pearce were rated “unacceptable” by the state in August, Pearce for the second straight year. Both have received the state’s lowest rating in previous years.

“What happens when they are in our boat?” Roth asked.

Illene Jones, a parent of a 14-year-old Webb student, gave a passionate speech
chastising a plan she said would “distribute our children like merchandise.”