Crowley school district parents weigh in on campus plans

CROWLEY -- About 300 parents filled the cafeteria seats at S.H. Crowley Intermediate School on Thursday night to weigh in on six attendance plans for the Crowley district's two new intermediate schools, which could be open for the 2010-11 school year.

At times their opinions became "challenging," Superintendent-designee Dan Powell said.

Some, mostly Deer Creek Elementary parents, don't support the overall plan to send their fifth- and sixth-graders to an intermediate campus before going to middle school for seventh and eighth grades.

Button Woods, PTA president at Deer Creek, said she spoke both as a parent and a substitute teacher.

"I see the advantage of keeping them in the K-6 environment," she said. "The sixth-graders are looked upon to be role models for the other children."

Their south Crowley school hasn't been integrated into the plan yet, but six of the district's 10 elementary schools already feed into two intermediate campuses, S.H. Crowley and Sue Crouch.

The other four elementary schools are to be brought into the system when the two new intermediate schools open.

"I'm for the change," said Bess Race parent Sarah Klempneuer. "Developmentally, I think it makes sense, and it could offer our kids more intramural sports and more activities they can do together."

Deer Creek parents often spoke emotionally of the community feel of their school and how they don't want to see that change.

"Change is difficult, but that's what life is about," said one grandmother, who was immediately heckled by a nearby dad who retorted, "Thank you, President Obama."

Most parents were respectful and open to ideas.

"My kids are excited about going to a new intermediate school," said Deione Varnado, a Poynter Elementary parent. "I think kids are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for."

Parents looked over the six attendance plans and voted for their favorites. Votes are also being taken on the district's website.

The school board will consider the plan to open the two intermediate schools as well as the parent-endorsed attendance plan at its regular meeting Thursday.

SHIRLEY JINKINS, 817-390-7657