DPS alters school closure/consolidation plan after broad community input

Emergency Manager also announced five new longer-term initiatives to assist the district improve long-term facility and program planning to meet community needs

 Following broad community input, including more than 40 community meetings, Detroit Public Schools today announced changes to the district’s school consolidation and closure plan. The updated plan will help the district cut operating costs and align resources to maximize services to students.

 Emergency Manager Roy S. Roberts said, “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 today 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.”

 Through changes in this year’s recommendations, in a number of cases, entire school programs will move to larger or better equipped facilities or to neighborhoods with more stable population patterns. In the past two years, DPS has experienced success when moving schools including J.R. King, Marcus Garvey and Dixon to larger PK-8 settings and enrollment patterns have met or exceeded projections as a result.

 This year, such program moves include:

  • Carstens will move to the Remus Robinson building, and the building will be renamed Carstens.
  • Hutchinson will move to the Howe building and be renamed Hutchinson.
  •  Van Zile will move into Farwell.
  •  Hutchins will move to the current Durfee School.

 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 east-side 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 magnet program at Hally will be maintained.

 The plan removes a net 15 buildings from operation between January 2011 and September 2012. A net reduction of five buildings will result through consolidation of a number of older schools into new buildings being built through the 2009 Bond Issue, with these buildings coming off-line: Old Public Safety HQ, DTC East and West (completed), Gompers, Vetal, Webster, current King HS, Barton, Parker, Logan, O.W. Holmes, current Mumford and current Crockett and Finney High Schools. Buildings currently used but coming off line through the closure/consolidation process include: Barsamian, Carstens, Ferguson, Hancock, Hutchins, Hutchinson, Robeson/Malcolm X, Sherrill and Van Zile. Osborn HS will close for the 2012-13 school year as previously announced.

 A total of 2,230,562 sq. ft. will be removed from the district through school buildings that will be closed and 1,153,300 of new school square footage added. A total of 10,931 students attend the closing buildings, 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.

 Roberts announced five new longer-term initiatives to assist the district improve long-term facility and program planning to meet community needs:

  • A Blue Ribbon Committee on Career and Technical Education Reform to design a matrix of School-to-Work Pathways utilizing DPS Career and Technical Centers, Davis Aerospace HS and Adult Education centers, as well as utilizing facilities for evening and tuition programs. As a result, Breithaupt Career and Technical Center, which had been on the list of candidates for closure for this year, will remain open.
  • Alternative Education Reform, including developing a transition plan for continuing the services of Barsamian, Ferguson and Hancock for FY2012 and a longer term initiative to redesign the delivery of Alternative Education Services, focusing on remediation and return to traditional schools.
  • A study of the Central Collegiate birth-20 campus to determine the best use of the two school buildings on that campus and to build a safe, secure and unified campus setting and address educational programming through a Lower School, Upper School and Collegiate programs.
  • A New Vision for education in Southwest Detroit that takes into account new facility needs, alternative funding for new or renovated schools and the bridge and rail intermodal projects being discussed for that area.
  • An outreach to HUD to explore funding for a new Mae C. Jemison School which currently sits adjacent to a large Hope VI development on the former Herman Gardens site.

 Each school will have a detailed Transition Plan, including information about transportation, curriculum, facilities and parental involvement.

 Schools and charter providers selected for DPS charter authorization for the Fall 2011 school year will be announced next week. The National Association of Charter School Authorizers has nearly concluded a rigorous and competitive bidding and vetting process for the applicants. The Renaissance process has garnered wide interest from charter operators and national education reformers. For every school that becomes a charter, the operating costs are removed from the district’s budget.

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