DC public school closings were announced in November of last year. At that time, the organization’s proposal included the closure of 20 schools due to low enrollment.
Yesterday, on “The Kojo Nmandi Show,” the chancellor of DC public schools, Kaya Henderson, called the plan “a proposal around consolidations and reorganizations.” According to Henderson, the final list of DC public school closings may or may not include 20 schools, but the original 20 were identified due to under utilization and under enrollment. A school with low enrollment has the same expenses as a full school -- heat, janitorial services, security, overhead, administrators, non-classroom teachers, etc. So Henderson’s goal is to eliminate these facility expenses, and use the money to provide more academic programs.
Henderson says that despite many families taking advantage of the out-of-boundary lottery system or choosing charter schools, there is still a great desire for neighborhood schools. However, people are opting out of those neighborhood schools because they do not offer the programs families desire like foreign languages, arts, or an International Baccalaureate program.
Since the initial plan on DC public school closings was presented, Henderson has been seeking input from parents. And they responded with updated demographic information and recruitment plans. In one case, a university offered $50,000 to help the PTA with a recruitment campaign.
But it’s not all school closings in DC; some are opening. In August, Ward 5 will be getting a new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) middle school for 6th-8th grade -- the McKinley Tech Middle School. The middle school will be a wing of the existing McKinley Tech building with engineering and science labs for 300 middle schoolers. In two years, the old Brookland Education Campus will reopen as the Brookland World Languages and Arts Integration Middle School.
During the week of January 14, be on the lookout for the final list of DC public school closings.