Detroit, MI – Connie K. Calloway, Ph.D., General Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools, this afternoon issued the following statement:
“The General Superintendent and the Board of Education Facilities Committee members have had preliminary discussions to consider Phase II of the Detroit Public Schools Realignment Plan, the closing of approximately a dozen additional schools at the end of the 2007-08 school year.
The General Superintendent and the Board Facilities Committee recommend that we suspend all school closings for this year. Having experienced approximately 35 closings in 2006 – 2007, we have gained knowledge and insights from this process.
Decisions up to this point have been made based primarily on enrollment targets, building capacity and facility conditions. In addition to these requirements we have learned that we need to have a more complete set of variables: we need to hear the voices of all of the stakeholders including the community, staff, students and businesses. We need to consider the academic performance of the school and to assure that no student will be assigned to a lower performing school. We have to consider the impact on our Class A School District status. Additionally we have to consider these questions: Is there a DPS replacement anchor school for the particular neighborhood or community? What is the distance that students would have to travel to find an equally competitive DPS academic program? What is the economic position of the local community, such as planned new housing starts and other economic development factors? What are the population trends in the impacted neighborhoods?
The General Superintendent and Board of Education members have determined that we must evaluate what resources we have provided to struggling schools, and what additional academic programs, after-school programs, and training and in-service opportunities for teachers and staff we have provided at these schools.
Given the above, closing additional schools is not a decision we want to rush into or conclude without hearing from all of the stakeholders.
We are recommending suspending the closing of any Phase II school at this time. Presently, the critical variable that would affect a school’s ability to remain open is if the facility structure itself places our students or staff at a safety risk.
This recommendation will be brought forth before the Open Facilities Committee meeting on Friday, March 7 at 5:00 p.m. in the DPS Welcome Center. In anticipation of Committee support, the item will be presented to the full Board for consideration on Thursday, March 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Southeastern High School.”
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