Stop Six residents criticize Fort Worth school board

FORT WORTH -- Unhappy Stop Six residents told the school board Tuesday night that they like the Dunbar 6th Grade Center the way it is and that they were not informed of plans to change it.

Administrators are considering creating an all-boys school in the Dunbar 6th building and moving neighborhood sixth-graders to Dunbar Middle School.

A public forum on the proposal has been set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dunbar 6th.

Residents told trustees they wanted to register their complaints with the board before the forum. Some said they don't necessarily oppose the plan but are upset that the community wasn't consulted first.

Parent Kim Price said she would fight to keep Dunbar 6th open. Price said she is disappointed with administrators and her school board representative, Christene Moss, because the matter came up for a board vote last month without notice to the community.

It was pulled from the agenda that night after some school volunteers learned of the plan.

"I do oppose blind decision-making," Price said.

Also, she said, if administrators think an all-boys school is enough to change things for struggling students in some areas of Stop Six, they are "sadly mistaken."

The Rev. Mark Kirkland, who serves on a committee for Dunbar 6th, said the school district has purposely created under-utilized schools in east Fort Worth and drawn boundaries so that the most impoverished children in Stop Six "don't have a chance to succeed."

Moss apologized for the matter being placed on the board's agenda before the community learned about it. She has long been an advocate for single-gender schools in Fort Worth. An all-girls academy opened this year.

School shuffle OK'd

Plans to put other school buildings to different uses were approved without opposition.

Students who would have attended Leonard 6th Grade Center are to attend Benbrook Middle School, which is set to open in August. So, the Middle Level Learning Center, which serves students in alternative placement for disciplinary issues, will be housed at the current Leonard 6th campus.

Middle Level's campus, near Interstate 30 and Montgomery Street, will house the new Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences. That high school is to open next school year in partnership with the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

McClung Middle School will open in August with sixth through eighth grades instead of just eighth as originally planned.

In other business, trustees named Carter-Riverside High School Principal Maria Sanchez as the new assistant superintendent of secondary school leadership. She replaces Chuck Boyd, who resigned in the wake of an investigation into wrongdoing at Arlington Heights High School.

Eva-Marie Ayala, 817-390-7700