Parents fight to keep High School Ahead Academy open in Guilford County

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Parents, teachers and students urged Guilford County school board members to keep High School Ahead Academy open for the upcoming academic year at Thursday’s school board meeting.

“I really hope that this is not a final decision,” one parent said. “That you take these children into consideration.”

Under the superintendent's recommended budget, High School Ahead Academy may close for the 2017-2018 school year.

“I was appalled because that school taught me so much," former student Chase Burns said.

If closed, 66 of the school's 98 students would have to go to new schools in the fall, according to the school district.

The school allows students one year behind their peers to catch up, combining sixth, seventh, and eighth grades into a two-year program.

Parents were notified about the possible closure through an automated message on April 4.

Some parents said they weren’t given enough notice.

“That's left parents, teachers, staff, everybody scrambling," parent Christine Nazario said.

The school district says the closure would save $1.2 million.

The money would be used for a program to help sixth through 12th-graders recover credits, according to the school district.

"We are in a very, very tough budget climate,” said Dr. Nakia Hardy, chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools. “When you're in a tough budget climate, the recommendations that we have to make are very, very difficult."

If it closes, Hardy says the school district will help parents find new schools for their students.

“What's most important to us is that we make sure that the students, if this does happen, are successful and that we care about them and their families," Hardy said.

A final decision on whether the school will be made on May 9.