A federal judge has approved school closings and consolidations in the Chambers County (Ala.) district as part of court-supervised desegregation plan.
The ruling will enable the district to build a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Academy in LaFayette for K-8 students, and consolidate two schools in the Valley area, reports AL.com
Some district patrons expressed opposition to the proposal and worried that by closing and consolidating schools in LaFayette, a majority-Black town, the district was placing an undue burden on Black students and families.
But District Judge W. Keith Watkins said the proposal as presented was reasonable.
"[I]t appears that the parties, after extensive negotiations, have crafted a well-reasoned plan that should eventually lead to...an end to this case," the judge said.
The STEAM Academy will temporarily be housed at Eastside Elementary in LaFayette, which will merge with J.P. Powell Middle School also in LaFayette, and Five Points Elementary in Five Points. All students at those schools will automatically be enrolled in the magnet program, and other students will be able to enroll if space is available.
LaFayette-Lanier Elementary will immediately close and merge with Fairfax Elementary in Valley.
Some opponents of the proposals feared the plan would lead to further disinvestment in the community.
Several LaFayette residents also said the district failed to be transparent with them about the proposal.