Several high-performing schools in small buildings with a capacity of 175 have objected to Janey's enrollment benchmarks of at least 300 students for elementary schools, 360 for middle schools and 600 for high schools. About 70 of the system's 147 schools fall below those numbers and are vulnerable to closure.It all sounds a bit byzantine.
The board's guidelines seek to protect such buildings by providing "quality schools and programs in every neighborhood." Rather than spreading the closings equally among all wards, as some activists have suggested, the guidelines seek to keep the distribution of schools "equitable."
The board said it would try not to close schools in such neighborhoods as Dupont Circle and Georgetown that have few school buildings to begin with.
At the same time, the guidelines seek to protect larger schools with athletic fields, science labs and libraries. Board members said privately that that could mean moving students from a small, high-performing school into a larger building with a lower-performing school that has more amenities.
"If we get shoved into another school, it would be a slap in the face to the people who have supported this school for years," said Maureen Diner, who chairs the school-restructuring team at Ross Elementary in Dupont Circle, which has about 140 students.
"It's very shortsighted if they were to let a successful community school like this fold."
The board's guidelines also would require feedback on proposed closings from the community and would prohibit the system from giving the city any buildings or land to sell. Under the plan, the system would lease the facilities to charter schools or city.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Which DCPS schools are going to be downsized?
No one outside of Superintendent Janey's privy knows, but the Board of Education did approve a set of guidelines that it wants the Super to follow when deciding which school are to get the axe.