At the heart of the issue is the fact that the East High School attendance area has more elementary schools and schools with smaller populations than the other attendance areas in the district. Of the 10 elementary schools in the East High attendance area, only Hawthorne has more than 300 students.
By contrast, La Follette and Memorial high schools’ attendance areas have seven elementary schools, and the West High School attendance area has eight elementary schools. The populations of these schools average over 400 students.
But hundreds of staunch fans of the East area elementary schools are rallying to the defense of their schools, saying that they are successful hubs of their communities, and that their small size and close-knit students and staff help engage families across all demographics while improving student achievement.
“People living on the east and northeast sides of the city shouldn’t be punished because the schools in this area were built to be small,” parent and longtime school volunteer Jill Jokela said at a gathering last week.