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Proposal could eliminate 7th, 8th grades at MLK Magnet

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Parents and teachers met with Metro Nashville Public Schools officials on Thursday about a plan that caught many by surprise.

Schools director Dr. Jesse Register has proposed eliminating seventh and eighth grades at Martin Luther King Magnet School.

A lot of parents have been outspoken in their opposition to the proposal, but Register is now explaining his reasoning.

He says the top concern is overcrowding. School officials say that the two feeder schools that offer an automatic acceptance pathway into MLK have grown so much, that the high school doesn't have enough room to accept incoming students next year who have already been promised a spot.

Register said he is open to exploring other options and will take into consideration better ideas as they come in, but he says right now, phasing out the middle school grades at MLK seems to be best option.

Another issue is the declining number of seats for non-pathway students. This school year, hundreds of non-pathway students applied to MLK but only three were accepted because there simply weren't enough seats, school officials say.

"The students from Rose Park Middle and the students from Head Middle are going to produce more students than we actually have spaces for, and children who qualify academically from those two middle schools are now given an automatic entrance into MLK. So, the next year, we are going to be over - and the year after that and the year after that," Register said.

Register was unable to attend the parents' meeting Thursday but said there will be another meeting on Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m., which he will attend and speak with parents. The meeting will be at the Martin Center in Turner Hall B and C on 2400 Fairfax Avenue in Nashville.

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