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      Flint's middle schools, two elementary schools to close

      Board members of Flint Community Schools voted to close the district's two middle schools and two of its elementary schools effective Summer 2012.

      Neighbors in Flint hope that school buildings won't fall into disrepair after board members voted to close them this summer.

      Nearly an hour and a half into Wednesday's Flint school board meeting, members voted to close four schools.

      Both of the district's middle schools ?? Holmes and McKinley - and two elementary schools, Bunche and Summerfield, will close after the end of the school year.

      Residents living near McKinley say they don't want the building to become an eyesore.

      It??s a move that has some parents wondering why the cuts are coming from the bottom.

      "I cannot appreciate allowing the building to fall into disrepair and destabilize a neighborhood that is in the process of re-stabilization,?? said a Holmes middle school parent to loud applause.

      Under the closure plan, each of the district's three high schools will house grades 7-12, and displaced elementary students moved to a nearby school.

      Some board members want to be bolder and make deeper cuts.

      Isaiah Oliver told fellow members, "If we don't do it, someone else will, and they won't make no decisions saying, ??Oh this is about kids.??"

      The district is expected to save almost $700,000 dollars through the closures, but that??s short of the original goal of cutting last year's nearly $4 million deficit by half.

      Still, some teachers whose schools survived this year's ax are relieved.

      Carpenter Road Elementary School teacher Martone Hatter said, ??Basically they voted to keep us open for another year, so I??m ecstatic about that."

      Others say there's no escaping reality. More cuts are looming, and they could further injure the quality of education in Flint Community Schools.

      Michelle Gushen teaches at the Schools of Choice Alternative High School and fears it could be next.

      "I just wish that we could keep ours here in Flint, because I think our kids need it,?? Gushen said about their program.

      For now, the school board reached a consensus to close four schools to start operating back in the black.

      Board members have until June 30 to finalize the 2012-2013 district budget.