Elementary school parents gather to discuss options

Seeking ways to save their neighborhood schools, parents from Jackson and Roosevelt elementary schools will hold a community forum Saturday to discuss four options a Medford schools task force has pitched for trimming escalating costs in the district's construction program.

The forum begins at 2 p.m. at Alba Park, 301 W. Main St., Medford.

Jackson and Roosevelt parents are concerned that three out of the four options call for permanently mothballing the neighborhood schools, both built around 1911.

A fourth option would scrap a project to build a new South Medford High School at Columbus and Cunningham avenues.

A final recommendation from the task force is expected Oct. 2.

"We want to have this community meeting to see if there are any ideas of how to save our schools," said Tracee Turner, Jackson PTO president.

Members of the Medford School Board and City Council were invited to the meeting, though it wasn't immediately clear Thursday whether any of them would attend.

"We also want community members who might not have kids at the schools to come because some of them might be concerned about how the school closures might affect crime and property values," she said.

Some parents said they were disappointed by the task force's recommendations, which also included proposals for kindergarten through eighth-grade campuses in conjunction with the Jackson and Roosevelt closures.

"I think it's really discouraging the only option to keep Jackson and Roosevelt open is to stop the South project," said Roosevelt PTO member Molly Wolfe. "I think we need a new high school, not this minute, but it's a shame the task force has made this an either-or.

"Almost every elementary student will end up at either North or South high schools."

Jackson and Roosevelt were abruptly shuttered in June after an engineering firm concluded they would likely collapse in an earthquake, but the district is seeking a second opinion on the buildings' structural condition after intense pressure from preservationists and constituents.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.

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