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TPS Parent: Community Will Fail If School Closes

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Cherokee Elementary Cherokee Elementary
Kristina Brazell hands out information on emergency meetings Tuesday. Kristina Brazell hands out information on emergency meetings Tuesday.
Parents meet to discuss the issue Tuesday evening. Parents meet to discuss the issue Tuesday evening.

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- When it comes to the youngest TPS students, there are seven elementary schools slated for closure on all three proposals.  One of those is Cherokee, the only TPS school in the community of Turley.

Parents of Cherokee Elementary students organized a meeting Tuesday night as soon as they saw the proposals and they have more planned over the next few days.

Parents say they will order a yearbook, because it might be Cherokee Elementary's last.

But first, Kristina Brazell wants other parents to put up a fight. She's passing out TPS surveys and information on emergency parent meetings.

"It was a big emergency for me, so I had to cancel everything today and come right up to the school," she said.

Other parents gathered outside Cherokee after seeing their children's school on all three consolidation plans.

Read the proposals.

"I told the people on the survey that if they shut this school down, I'm going to take my kids out of Tulsa schools," Justa Richardson, a TPS parent, said.

Cherokee has about 219 students and it's only expected to gain five students over the next five years. The school has only 48 percent of its total student capacity, which is 458.

"It pissed me off, it made me mad," Randy Wheeler, a TPS parent, said. "Basically they are going to take away my child's school that's close to the house and the teachers are great."

Some moms and dads are more worried about transportation and the morning commute to a school that's not in the neighborhood.

"I'm a single mom with two kids," Toni Langworthy said. "She goes here and so what am I going to do?"

"It's very offending to us to close the school out here because we've lived out here a long time and now they are going to close a school that's been here since 1920," Matthew Myers said.

Hours later, those same parents gathered to discuss what they can do to save Turley's only school from the chopping block.

"If you close Cherokee, this community will fall, plain and simple," said one concerned parent.

They mentioned things like rallies, petitions, and flooding school board members with calls and emails

"Get the word out, let them know that our school is too good to close," Natalie Pritchett said.

Related Stories:

3/29/2011 Tulsa Public Schools Could Close Up To 17 Schools
3/29/2011 Some Say Eliminating Tulsa Middle Schools Would Benefit Students
3/29/2011 Neighbors Raise Concern Over Possible Tulsa Elementary School Closures
3/29/2011 Related Story: TPS Superintendent: District Spread Too Thin To Be Effective

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