ATLANTA -- More than 50 parents, teachers and students flocked to the gym of East Lake Elementary School early Saturday morning, appealing to a panel of three Atlanta Public Schools representatives to keep their school open.
For nearly two hours, people lined up to ask questions about the redistricting process and why their school was slated to be closed.
East Lake is one of 13 elementary and middle schools set to close within the next two years. The district says the schools are underpopulated, estimating a total of 13,000 empty seats district-wide with these 13 schools accounting for more than half of them.
Superintendent Erroll Davis introduced the plan in early March and the board is set to vote in April. If approved, all schools will close at the end of this school year except Parks Middle School, which will remain open for the 2012-2013 school year.
During Saturday's meeting, parents expressed frustration with what they call a hurried process with few answers.
"What's the rush? Why are you trying to steamroll us?" parent Mia Evans Buckner asked. "And then you come to these meetings and you don't have the answers that parents require."
East Lake students will be rezoned to Toomer Elementary School, less than two miles away. Parents argue their students will no longer be able to walk to school and say their questions about transportation have gone unanswered.
The panel, which consisted of an APS educational director, deputy superintendent of instruction and an operations manager, said the plan is not yet finalized.
To read the district's full redistricting plan, click here.
APS is required to hold two public meetings at each of the 13 schools slated to close. The dates and times are as follows:
Alonzo FranklinHerndon Elementary School - Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 21. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Capitol View Elementary School - Wednesday, March 14 and Monday, March 26. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
William M. Boyd Elementary School - Wednesday, March 14 and Friday, March 16. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Ed S.Cook Elementary School -- Thursday, March 15 and Monday, March 19. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Sammye E. Coan Middle School - Friday, March 16 and Friday, March 23. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Joseph W. Humphries Elementary School - Friday, March 16 and Wednesday, March 28. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
East Lake Elementary School - Saturday, March 17 at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Walter Leonard Parks Middle School - Monday, March 19 and Friday, March 30. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Joseph Fitzgerald Kennedy Middle School - Thursday, March 15 and Thursday, March 22. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Frank Libby Stanton - Monday, March 26 and Friday, March 30. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Walter FrancisWhite Elementary School - Monday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 28. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.
Thomasville Heights Elementary School - Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.
MargaretFain Elementary School - Friday, March 23 and Thursday, March 29. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m.