Community meeting on possible changes to Stewart Middle School

TYLER (KYTX) - Tyler ISD School Board members and people in the community come together to discuss changing Stewart Middle School into an alternative education campus.

It was a very constructive meeting. People voiced their concerns to TISD school board members, asking why a school, they say is excelling, would be taken away from their community.

Vice President of the Butler College Community Organization (which addresses community issues), Josephine Hayden, doesn't want anything to change at Stewart Middle School.

"My children went to Stewart, my grandchildren went to Stewart, so I have a big part in this. This is a part of this community, and we want to keep this school in this community," Hayden says.

Tyler ISD School Board member Orenthia Mason says she understand concerns about re-purposing a school that's been around for 50 years.

She said, "We're very concerned about their concerns."

TISD's long term plan includes turning the current school into a place for students struggling in every day classes.

"There is a segment of students we are missing and we want to serve them," Mason said.

A big question from the community -- why Stewart?

At the meeting, Mason said, "It's because of it's location, not because it's Stewart, but where we could best locate students."

School board members say Stewart's central location makes it an ideal school to re-purpose.

"A. T. Stewart is not going to be closed," Mason said.

That's something community members understand, but they hope TISD will reconsider its plans to change a school that means so much to them.

"I'm hoping the people will understand why we don't want it closed because of the children," Hayden said.

If changes were to happen at Stewart, TISD would have to get federal approval to redraw district lines. Current students would then be sent to other schools within the district. It's something they are continuing to look at in their long range plan.

Nothing is set in stone yet, because there are two proposed new middle schools on a possible upcoming school bond.  The bond would have to be passed before this plan for Stewart Middle School ever sees a vote.



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