By Kimberly Davis

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Parents in Camden are making heartfelt pleas to save several public schools. They’re wanting the district to really see what would be lost and the toll it would take if another school is closed.

“Save our schools,” parents chanted.

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It was a rally that went well into the evening in an effort to save Camden’s public schools that are at risk of closing, specifically Sharp Elementary School.

“They said that the conditions of our school is deplorable. What it is, is the leadership is deplorable. The decision making is deplorable,” said parent Felix Moulier.

Monday afternoon, parents, teachers, and residents came out to fight for their public schools on the 900 block of North 32nd Street.

Even the president of the Camden Education Association was there in support of keeping Camden public schools open.

“It’s the second time within five years the schools been under attack by central administration. Parents and educators obviously care about their school and they’re willing to fight for it,” said Keith Benson.

We’re told Superintendent Katrina McCombs wants to close several schools to bring back middle schools. Middle schools were eliminated years ago due to low performance.

This change would affect not only students but teachers as well, and leave North Camden without a public school.

But parents say not on their watch.

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“A lot of people in that board need to be removed. There is a lot of corruption and it’s all about money. As far as Katrina McCombs goes, I just want you to know that you sold your soul for what price?” Carlena Leavy said.

Camden City School District Superintendent, Katrina McCombs issued the following statement:

“Our students in Camden are entitled to the best facilities, education, and support. It is my mission as Superintendent to place students in schools that give them the best opportunity to succeed. Over the course of 6-months, my team and I have gathered feedback from over 500 residents, including parents, educators, and faith leaders. The input we received will inform our final plan. I can share that the plan will include some school closures, as many of our older buildings are in very poor condition while we have space available in our newer district facilities. Today, when I share the specific details of the plan and how we will support families, the Camden City School District will take another step toward fulfilling our promise of Putting Students First.”

Even the youngest protesters are hoping their public schools can be protected.

“Keep my school open,” one student said.

The group is planning a trip to Trenton in hopes of saving their public school at the state capital.


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Kimberly Davis