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Head Of D.C. Teachers' Union Reserves Judgment On D.C. School Closings

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Washington Teachers' Union President Nathan Saunders is take a measured approach to the proposal to close 20 District schools.
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Washington Teachers' Union President Nathan Saunders is take a measured approach to the proposal to close 20 District schools.

Nathan Saunders, who heads the Washington Teachers Union, says he is neither for nor against a D.C. Public Schools proposal to close 20 schools. He first wants time to do an analysis of the schools affected.

Saunders says he understands the structural pressures on the school system: "At the government expense, you cannot operate and finance a mansion for a three member family."

Having said that, Saunders says he's concerned about possible overcrowding in classrooms if schools are consolidated, especially if there are closings.

"The first thing we want those dollars they save to be earmarked for is resources immediately to secure the art, PE, music, library and media specialists — the programs as well as the teachers," says Saunders.

Saunders also wants teachers who might lose their jobs because of the closings to be re-hired to replace the teachers DCPS loses every year to retirements and resignations.

A decision on the school closures is expected in January.

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