Community fights to keep Fern Creek Elementary from closing

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Parents and students fighting to save an Orange County elementary school from closure demanded answers from school board Chairman Bill Sublette during a community meeting Thursday night.

Fern Creek Elementary sits on Fern Creek Avenue in Orlando's Colonialtown North neighborhood.

Two planned kindergarten through eighth-grade schools, including one in Parramore, would drop the population of Fern Creek to less than 200 students, which is why the school is slated to close.

Parents and supporters of the school pleaded their case to Sublette in an effort to keep it open.

It was standing-room only at the meeting Thursday night as residents voiced their concerns.

“Our big question is, ‘Why are we fixing something that’s not broken?’ It’s not broken,” said parent Alisha Kearns.

Thousands of students have passed through the schools doors.

For decades, students have been bused in from Parramore after a desegregation lawsuit filed against the district.

"It's been rumored for years now that this might occur," said Parent Teacher Association President Carla Fischer. "The thing is it wasn't until January when things became much more apparent."

Fischer was part of a group of parents who pleaded their case to Sublette, who is a major proponent of the planned K-8 schools.

History shows there is hope for the group. Five years ago, predominantly black Howard Middle School was set to close before parents and students fought in force against it.

The school board is not scheduled to make a decision on closing the school for some time.