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Parents Demand Answers On Proposal To Close 20 D.C. Schools

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DCPS School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, foreground, is defending the proposal to shutter 20 D.C. schools today.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
DCPS School Chancellor Kaya Henderson, foreground, is defending the proposal to shutter 20 D.C. schools today.

The second city council hearing about a proposal to close 20 D.C. Public Schools happened Monday, and dozens of residents showed up to voice their concerns.

Tim Ryan is on the Parent Teacher Association at Francis Stevens Education Campus in Ward 2. He's one of many parents who are upset by a proposal to close down their child's school. Francis Stevens could close at the end of this academic year because there are just 225 students across 11 grades.

"It will deal a devastating blow to our community, which has been thriving in the past decade," says Ryan.

Chancelor Kaya Henderson says smaller schools are currently subsidized.

"We pay anything from $250,000 to $2 million," Henderson said.

If the 20 schools close, the remaining schools could see their budgets increase by $650,000 — enough to hire a librarian and five additional teachers, Henderson said. On the flip side, if schools don't close, Henderson said, it'll mean program cuts from athletic equipment and uniforms to security and more.

"We'll eliminate International Baccalaureate programs and teaching staff. We'll defer technology upgrades. We'll stop doing the fundamental things that can make DCPS an attractive school district," she said. 

There are several more hearings in the community planned before the chancellor and the mayor make a final decision in January. Henderson said she's open to considering other ideas, but the school system cannot continue with "business as usual."

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