Parramore parents, children excited about proposed school

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando city commissioners on Tuesday are expected to take the first official step toward building Parramore's first neighborhood school in more than 40 years.

The school would be located across the street from the future Creative Village site, at Federal Street and Parramore Avenue.

Years ago, Parramore's last school was closed, so Parramore students had to be bussed to other nearby schools instead. The community's children were split among eight different elementary schools.

Some studies have found that busing is good for students from low-income homes, who often have lower academic performance, because they are challenged by classes with students from middle-class homes, but most families who talked with Channel 9 said they'd much rather have a school in their neighborhood.

The court-ordered busing began in 1971.

"I wasn't even born. I was born in '93," said Shaquanta Wright, whose sister is bused.

While some studies show that minority students who attend integrated schools have higher rates of high school graduation and college attendance, parents in Parramore don't buy it.

They believe a closer school will lead to more parental involvement, which will ultimately help their children more.

"With the drugs in this area, it would help give parents an opportunity to educate their kids," said parent Johnny Young.

Parramore advocate Lawanna Gelzer was bused to Princeton Elementary School as a child. She said she wishes the city and school board would have acted years ago and questions their motives now.

"It's for the people you're proposing to move into the Creative Village site," she said. "It's not for us."

On Tuesday, the city is poised to take control of the school site from the community redevelopment agency.