March 21, 2006


With declining enrollment, the DC BOE plans to eliminate one million square feet of space by closing schools by the start of the 2007 school year in September. But which schools to close? Too much compromise might endanger some healthy schools.

Though the specific to be closed schools have not been named yet, the master plan that Clifford Janey is working from declares the minimum number of students for a school to be educationally viable: 320 students for an elementary school, 360 for a middle school and 600 for a high school, says the WaPo. About 70 schools, nearly half the system's inventory of 147 buildings, fall below that standard.

The politics on this are going to be very tricky. In the WaPo school activist Emily Washington says don't confine the closings to poor areas of the city, but that's where the bad schools are and that's where the population is declining fastest.

On the other hand, schools in Dupont Circle, like Ross Elementary, would be worth a small fortune if the city decided to close them. Janey will do what's best for the students but that may mean trying to raise as much cash for the ailing school system as possible. If Roth closes the parents my try to buy the facility and turn it into a charter. How's that for the law of unintended consequences: no revenues and more competition.

Good luck deciding, Mr. Janey.


Click on DC Education Blog to learn more about DC school issues.

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