Debate over new Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

Local News

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most prominent leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. It’s also the name of a middle school nestled in a predominately African American neighborhood and it’s the topic of heated debate.

The Monroe City School Board has decided to move Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School across Highway 165.

“It’s not perfect, there are challenges to every site that we looked at,” said Board President Bill Willson. 

Willson says the new site is the better option it will be sandwiched between Minnie Ruffin Elementary and Wossman High School. It’ll feature state of the art technology and be a 21st century learning facility.

Willson says due to flooding concerns and no where to house students during construction, it took the old location out of the running. However Betty Ward Cooper believes the old building is the best option.

“They could be building on one end and the students could be on the other end,” said Cooper.

“We looked at for two months, the process of possibly refurbishing the exsisting junior high,” Willson responded.

Willson says that option just didn’t work with a creek running beneath the school, but Cooper said that’s all fixable. 

Cooper shared that she has concerns with the new location and the new issues that it presents like traffic congestion and crowding. Willson they don’t have it all figured out just yet, but they’re trying. 

“We’ve petitioned the city of monroe to consider doing a third lane,” Willson stated.

“There were no community meetings conducted by the board to get community input,” challenged Cooper. 

She indicated that she is committed to working as a team and moving the school system forward with transparency, accountability and inclusion. 

The new school is set to open in 18-24 months. 

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