SACRAMENTO, CA - Hundreds fought to save 11 Sacramento elementary schools on the chopping block at a Thursday night's school board meeting.
RELATED STORY: Sacramento Unified slates closure of 11 schools
The schools recommended to be closed are:
1. Fruit Ridge
2. James Marshall
5. C.P. Huntington
6. Susan B. Anthony
7. Bret Harte
8. Joseph Bonnheim
9. Mark Hopkins
10. C.B. Wire
"If you close James Marshall," parent Matt Muller said, "I'm going to pull my kids out and home-school them because this idea is a bad idea." Muller has a son who attends James Marshall Elementary School.
Because so many people showed up, there wasn't enough space in the board room. Three spillover rooms were set up to accommodate everyone.
"I think they should not close down Fruitridge," student Stephanie Miranda said. "It's a really great place for kids to learn all kinds of stuff."
The board said years of mult-imillion dollar budget shortfalls have forced them to put the schools on the chopping block. And if the Sacramento City Unified School District doesn't take appropriate steps to address the deficit, they risk a state take-over.
The board said the schools were chosen because of dramatic under-enrollment. But not everyone was buying the numbers.
"The numbers you're giving aren't accurate," Rachelle Gray said. Gray is a teacher at Bret Harte Elementary. "Before you go voting on this I would double-check what the district is giving you on accurate numbers."
"A lot of the schools being closed -- they're multi-ethnic," said Jamillah Kirk, who is a parent and employee at Bret Harte. "It's called the 'white escape'. We know it. I will say it. We know what's going on.
The district said it would save $10 million over four years. But parents believe those savings come at a cost to their children.
"I don't want to shut the school down because I like learning there," said Luis Ramirez, a student at Susan B. Anthony Elementary School.
Community meeting will be held at each of the 11 schools before the board takes final action Feb. 21.