By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- In a last-ditch effort to raise awareness for three public schools scheduled to close at the end of the school year, teachers and parents rallied together on Monday, May 13.
The rally was held at St. James AME Church in Titusville by The Brevard Federation of Teachers and parents' group Save Brevard Public Schools.
"I am hopeful that the school board will reassess decisions made in February," said Michelle Spiesman, head of Save Brevard Public Schools.
At the end of the school year, South Lake Elementary in Titusville, Clearlake Middle in Cocoa and Gardendale Elementary Magnet on Merritt Island are all scheduled to close following budgetary woes and a failed voter referendum.
"We implore the school board to reconsider this ill-advised plan that would have such a devastating effect on our children and communities," said Richard Smith, BFT President, in a press release. "We are at a loss to understand the school district's reasoning. The facts that were used to make the decision to close schools have changed. Money has been found. It's now time to reconsider."
The district also announced plans to close North Area Alternative Learning Center in Titusville.
The closure of these four schools has sparked criticism from the community, including claims of racial discrimination in the form of a lawsuit filed against the district by Orlando Civil Rights attorney Shayan Elahi.
The schools scheduled to close all have large minority rates.
In a release, Mr. Smith said the closures will affect students more than anything.
"For the students at South Lake Elementary, this will be their third school in as many years and will result in a 30-minute commute each way for them," he said. "It is time for the parents and community leaders to join us and stand up for our children."