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DPS Increases Number Of School Closures

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Public Schools said it is increasing the number of school closures to 20 by the fall of next year. That is up from the previously announced 14.

The decision came Thursday, following broad community input, including more than 40 community meetings that were heavily attended.

District officials said they plan to keep some schools open that had previously been proposed for closure. DPS also said they are making changes to the proposed school mergers.

Officials said the updated plan will help the district cut operating costs and align resources to maximize services to students.

DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said the district still has too many schools for its shrinking student population, even though it has closed 130 buildings since 2005 – half of its schools.

In March, the district proposed closing 14 schools and possibly converting another 45 to charter schools by the fall. Of the 45, 18 schools were proposed to close this summer if no charter school operator was identified.

“There continues to be overcapacity for the number of students that we serve despite the closings that have occurred, and while the moves we are announcing bring DPS more in line with the number of classrooms needed, we must quickly get to the point of determining the number of schools needed to meet enrollment projections for the next five years and create a plan to continue to downsize excess facilities,” Roberts said in a statement.

The additional schools slated to close are Carstens, Hutchinson, Van Zile and Hutchins elementary schools. Those students will be moved to other facilities. Each school will have a detailed Transition Plan, including information about transportation, curriculum, facilities and parental involvement.

Schools previously recommended as candidates for closure that are remaining open this year include: Beard ELC, Carleton, Day School for the Deaf, Detroit City HS, Dossin, Ludington, MacDowell, Neinas, Rutherford and Trix. Moses Field will remain open but will eventually relocate once a suitable eastside location is found.

Upper grades from Paul Robeson/Malcolm X, currently housed at Thurgood Marshall School following a fire last month, will move to larger facilities at Hally School.

The updated plan removes a net 15 buildings from operation between January 2011 and September 2012.

A total of 10,931 students attend the buildings set to close, of which 7,285 students are in the bond-related closing schools and will transition to updated facilities while 3,647 students attend the consolidated schools.

Schools and charter providers selected for DPS charter authorization for the Fall 2011 school year will be announced next week.

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