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15 D.C. Public Schools slated to close

Thursday - 1/17/2013, 2:34pm  ET

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

Thousands of D.C. Public School students will be going to different schools next year because of the latest round of school closures announced Thursday.

Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that 15 schools will close, which currently serve about 2,475 students. Those students will be transferred to neighboring schools.

Henderson says the consolidations will save about $8.5 million annually — money that will be redirected for educational purposes.

"We have not been spending our resources in appropriate ways, and we pay tremendous overhead to subsidize really small schools, which might be ok if we were getting a really big bang for our buck, but that's not the case," Henderson says. "This was a very hard step, to release some funds that we can now reprogram into things we think are very important to kids."

In addition to the school closings, Henderson says she plans on cutting the budget to the central administrative office, which would likely result in layoffs.

"We're looking at about a 10 percent cut to central office," Henderson says. "My Central Office budget is about $36 million so about $3.5 million. Some of it will be in people, some will be in other things."

Henderson says the administrative cuts will be detailed in her 2014 budget once it's finalized.

13 schools will close at the end of this school year:

  • MacFarland MS
  • Marshall ES
  • CHOICE at Hamilton
  • Spingarn SHS
  • Spingarn STAY
  • Shaw MS at Garnet-Patterson
  • Prospect LC
  • Davis ES
  • Kenilworth ES
  • Winston EC
  • Ron Brown
  • Ferebee-Hope ES
  • MC Terrell-McGogney ES

Two additional schools, Mamie D. Lee and Sharpe Health, will close at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

Henderson initially proposed closing 20 under-populated schools in November. Her initial plan would have increased building utilization rates from 72 percent to 84 percent. And it would have shrunk the number of elementary schools serving fewer than 350 students from 41 schools to 26 schools.

The final plan incorporates the ideas and input gathered from public meetings and community discussions, the school system says.

Other changes include offering new early childhood and special education classrooms at Garrison Elementary School and expanding the number of grades offered at Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan and increasing the number of early childhood education seats available at the school.

The District has posted the full final plan online.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)