DPS Board of Education votes 6-1 against closing two schools amid declining enrollment

Denver Public Schools
Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 00:24:22-05

DENVER – The Denver Public Schools Board of Education voted 6-1 Thursday against motions to close two schools starting next year as part of a controversial plan aimed at addressing declining enrollment across Colorado’s largest school district.

The initial proposal, which included 10 schools slated for consolidation or full closure, was cut in half on Nov. 10 after it faced pushback from some members of the school board, according to Chalkbeat. The five schools facing potential closure ahead of Thursday’s vote were:

  • Denver Discovery School
  • Schmitt Elementary
  • Fairview Elementary
  • International Academy of Denver at Harrington
  • Math and Science Leadership Academy

Those five schools account for more than two-thirds of the nearly $5 million that the district provides to subsidize the initial 10 schools, according to Denver Public Schools.

During Thursday's meeting, DPS Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero proposed closing only two schools instead of the five — Denver Discovery School and Math and Science Leadership Academy.

The motions to close Denver Discovery School and Math and Science Leadership Academy failed in 6-1 votes.

“I want to thank everyone who participated during this difficult process,” Marrero said in a statement issued by the district following the meeting. “The budget crisis that we are facing as a District is not expected to go away. Following the vote, I asked the Board for direction to move the District forward. I look forward to engaging with the community and with the Board to develop other ways that we can address the crisis.”

The district said in the past five years, elementary and middle school enrollment has declined by more than 6,000 students, resulting in a loss of $61 million annually. DPS expects an additional loss of approximately 3,000 elementary and middle school students over the next four years.

Watch the board meeting here:

BOE Meeting 11-17 4:30pm from DPS Board on Vimeo.