Denver Public Schools presents school closure, consolidation plan to the public for the first time

Denver Public Schools
Posted at 9:46 PM, Nov 03, 2022

DENVER — It’s been just over a week since Denver Public Schools released a proposal to close 10 elementary and middle schools and consolidate them with nearby schools. Thursday evening, the DPS Board of Education presented that full plan — piece by piece — to the public for the first time.

The district said lower birth rates and a changing housing market have caused a significant decline in enrollment, forcing a need for consolidations. Officials said the district’s smallest schools are struggling to provide consistent staffing, strong academics and more.

The DPS schools listed below are facing closure:

· Columbian Elementary will unify with Trevista at Trevista
· Palmer Elementary will unify with Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment K-5 grades at Montclair and ECE at Palmer
· Math Science Leadership Academy (MSLA) will unify with Valverde Elementary at Valverde
· Schmitt Elementary will unify with Godsman Elementary at Godsman
· Eagleton Elementary will unify with Cowell Elementary at Cowell
· Fairview Elementary and Colfax Elementary will unify with K-5 grades at Cheltenham and ECE at Colfax
· International Academy of Denver at Harrington will unify with Columbine Elementary and Swansea Elementary in a new enrollment zone with Columbine and Swansea.
· Denver Discovery School will unify with schools in the Greater Park Hill - Central Park Enrollment zone.
· Whittier K-8 will unify with schools in the Greater Five Points Elementary Enrollment Zone and the Near Northeast Middle School Enrollment Zone.

Denver7 talked with Whittier K-8 Principal Lynette Hall-Jones, who attended Thursday night’s meeting. If this proposal should happen, her greatest concern is her students.

“If we close, our students will be forced, between our elementary and middle school students, to go to six different schools — three for elementary and three for middle schools — which is unlike any of the other schools on the list,” said Hall-Jones.

During the meeting, school board members brought up a lot of questions and concerns with the plan.

“One of the biggest things I’m looking for is that communities were involved in the process before being recommended to the school board. It’s huge for me that we are doing with community and not to the community,” said Auon’tai Anderson, DPS Board of Education vice president.

“What this, to me, is about proactive education to kids, not policing or restricting in any way,” said school board member Scott Baldermann.

While the meeting was taking place, the group Mamás de DPS Peliando por las Escuelas Públicas spoke outside Colfax Elementary, saying the district's plan is not the way to go.

“This is not an either-or situation. There are more nuanced and thoughtful ways to address the situation. We cannot subscribe and must disrupt these false narratives,” said DPS mom Mandy Nunes Hennessey.

During the meeting, the school board announced that a second reading will take place on Nov. 29 — the same day as the vote.

Anderson wants to reiterate to parents no decisions will be made until then.