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5 Denver faculties slated for closure may very well be spared — no less than for now

5 Denver faculties beneficial for closure might get a short lived reprieve.

Denver Public Colleges Superintendent Alex Marrero introduced late Thursday that he was altering his advice. Out of 10 faculties initially beneficial for closure, 5 are nonetheless a excessive precedence to shut as a result of they get the most important finances subsidies, he stated in a press launch. 

The 5 faculties Marrero is prioritizing for potential closure are:

Denver Discovery College

Schmitt Elementary

Fairview Elementary

Worldwide Academy of Denver at Harrington

Math and Science Management Academy

One other 5 faculties are nonetheless into consideration, Marrero stated, however the district will proceed to assist them financially whereas “we extra intently have interaction with their respective communities.”

These 5 faculties are:

Colfax Elementary

Columbian Elementary

Palmer Elementary

Eagleton Elementary

Whittier ECE-8

The college board is about to vote on Marrero’s advice on Nov. 17.

“As a Denver resident, I perceive the significance and worth of neighborhood faculties. I do know lots of our households have roots at faculties that span generations,” Marrero stated in a press launch. “However I, because the superintendent of DPS, and our board of schooling have a fiduciary accountability to all Denver residents.

“I take this accountability critically, and I would like you to know I’m dedicated to doing what is important to, as our strategic roadmap states, guarantee Each Learner Thrives — right now, tomorrow and for generations to come back.”

The announcement comes on the identical day that the varsity board within the neighboring Jeffco college district voted unanimously to shut 16 elementary faculties. Most metro space college districts are coping with declining enrollment, however they’re dealing with the varsity closure course of otherwise.

In Denver, three college board members stated publicly or in interviews with Chalkbeat that they deliberate to vote in opposition to Marrero’s plan to shut 10 faculties. Three others stated they have been undecided, and one declined to reply.

Households on the 10 faculties have been additionally mobilizing in opposition to the advice, talking out at conferences and press conferences, and circulating petitions to avoid wasting their faculties.

The Latino Training Coalition, a bunch of fogeys and neighborhood members, launched an announcement this week asking the district to impose a one-year moratorium on college closures as a result of it stated the method has been flawed. The coalition additionally questioned the district’s enrollment numbers at two of the ten faculties, arguing they have been larger than the edge set for closure.

9 of the ten faculties initially beneficial for closure primarily serve Black and Latino college students and people from low-income households. All 5 of the faculties that Marrero is prioritizing do. At every of the 5 faculties, 8% or fewer of the scholars final 12 months have been white.

The 5 faculties Marrero is prioritizing are the 5 smallest of the unique 10. A letter to the neighborhood Marrero launched Thursday lists the enrollments at every of the faculties and the way a lot cash the district is spending to subsidize them this 12 months.

Denver faculties are funded per pupil, and faculties with low enrollment wrestle to afford workers. That typically results in faculties slicing artwork or music, combining two grade ranges into one classroom, or dropping bilingual programming. Denver subsidizes faculties with fewer than 215 college students. That’s additionally the cutoff Marrero used to make his closure advice.

The enrollments and subsidies have been listed as:

Denver Discovery College: 93 college students, $1,036,140 in subsidies

MSLA: 115 college students, $511,230 in subsidies

Fairview: 128 college students, $590,684 in subsidies

IAD at Harrington: 139 college students, $568,852 in subsidies

Schmitt: 148 college students, $683,024 in subsidies

In accordance with the letter, the district might fund the yearly salaries of 34 academics with the cash it’s spending to subsidize the 5 faculties.

“Because the superintendent of Denver Public Colleges, it’s my responsibility to make sure all college students have entry to sturdy educational choices whereas the district stays fiscally accountable to Denver taxpayers,” Marrero wrote within the letter. “We’re not making this advice as a result of we need to. We’re doing so as a result of we have now to.”

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, overlaying Denver Public Colleges. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.



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