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DCPS Chancellor Takes 5 Schools Off Closure List

Fifteen schools will still close by the end of 2014

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D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that 15 schools will be shut down in the District over the next two years. 
Kavitha Cardoza
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that 15 schools will be shut down in the District over the next two years. 

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has decided to close 15 schools instead of the 20 she originally proposed shuttering last year. Henderson said she changed her mind about shutting down some schools after a series of community meetings.

Garrison Elementary School will remain open because of updated demographic data showing a projected increase in school-age children in that area, the chancellor said. The data was released in late December 2012. Henderson is working with a high-performing charter school to partner with Malcolm X Elementary School as part of a hybrid model.

Smothers Elementary School will not close because it's been steadily increasing enrollment. Francis Stevens Education Campus will also avoid closure, merging with School Without Walls to serve pre-K through 12th grade students.

Henderson decided to keep Johnson Middle School open because of different "alliances and allegiances" among students, she said Thursday. She worried about student safety if two schools merged; students from different groups coming together, "might create powder kegs which we are not ready to deal with," she said. 

In addition, "if we did close Johnson it would mean between 2008 and now we went from four middle schools in Ward 8 to two middle schools in Ward 8," she said.

Henderson knows talking about school consolidations is "treacherous territory."  But the moves are necessary to increase the quality of education available to all students, she added.  

 "Ultimately, we're paying too much and offering too little," Henderson said. She expects annual savings of $8.5 million from the consolidations. The money will be reinvested in expanding classroom programs such as foreign languages, art, music and physical education in every school.

The school district will lose approximately 140 staff positions due to the changes, but Henderson said the loss will be "minimal" given the number of teachers who retire or resign through normal attrition. She doesn't expect staff members rated as "effective" to be out of jobs. 

Of the 15 schools that will close, 13 will shut down at the end of this academic year. Two more will close in 2014. Henderson said she's still looking into options for repurposing the closed school buildings.

Updated list of school closures:

After 2012-2013 school year:

  • MacFarland Middle School
  • Marshall Elementary School
  • CHOICE at Hamilton
  • Spingarn SHS
  • >Spingarn STAY
  • Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson
  • Prospect Learning Campus
  • Davis Elementary School
  • Kenilworth Elementary School
  • Winston Education Center
  • Ron Brown Middle School
  • Ferebee-Hope Elementary School
  • MC Terrell-McGogney ES

 

After 2013-2014 school year:

  • Mamie D. Lee
  • Sharpe Health

 

Off the closure list:

  • Francis Stevens Education Campus
  • Garrison Elementary School
  • Smothers Elementary School
  • Johnson Middle School
  • Malcom X Elementary School
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