DCPS to Propose About 20 School Closures

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012  |  Updated 12:27 PM EDT
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Public schools chancellor Kaya Henderson said she wants to consolidate some schools in wards where buildings are under capacity.

Tony Tull

Public schools chancellor Kaya Henderson said she wants to consolidate some schools in wards where buildings are under capacity.

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D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Tuesday that the agency is proposing the closure of  a number of city schools in an effort to consolidate the system.

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells told attendees at a public event Monday night that 19 schools would be closed.

Currently, the District educates about 45,000 public school students in 117 buildings. A report commissioned by Mayor Vincent Gray early this year recommended closing low-performing schools -- several of which are located in Wards 7 and 8.

The names of the schools being closed will be released to the public at 4 p.m.

The Washington Post offered support for Henderson's plan in an editorial Tuesday:

Many of the District’s public schools are operating well below capacity, with some enrolling as few as 131 students. Under-enrolled schools do not allow for the best or most efficient use of resources. Schools with larger enrollments have more robust staffing, including librarians and art teachers, and encourage collaboration that is difficult to achieve in small schools.

In 2008, then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee closed 23 schools as part of her aggressive school reform initiative. Henderson, who worked for Rhee at the time of those closures, will allow time for public comment in an effort to stem criticism this time around.

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