DENVER — If approved, the recommendations going before the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education next week would close 10 schools and consolidate them into other schools.
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
Public comment on the issue is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 14, and the vote is expected on Thursday, Nov. 17.
On Monday, Board of Education members Auon'tai Anderson and Scott Esserman hosted a community meeting, and announced they plan to vote "no" on the plan in its current form.
“I'm being asked as a board member to make a crucial decision on the fate of 10 different schools in two weeks. That's not fair to these communities," Anderson said. “This isn't just impacting adults, it's not just impacting a budget. It's impact impacting our kids. And they need to know that they have a representative that's going to fight for them.”
DPS 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 Board of Education President Xochitl Gaytan said she understands the financial pressure on the school district, but is concerned about the impact on families.
“Some of the schools on the list are not offering the full robust programming that our students really need and deserve. I am highly concerned about that," Gaytan said over a Zoom interview. “It's important that we hear from everyone on the list of 10 schools that are up for unification. We deeply care and want to be a part of a solution that's the best fit for all of our students.”
Still, parents at the meeting do not believe the schools chosen should be on the chopping block.
“We always seem to be overlooked and pushed around in the city, especially Black and brown folks," said Lacy McDonald, who has four children attending Colfax Elementary School. “We're in survival mode. Not a lot of parents are going to be able to make it to these engagements... None of us were talked to about this thing, before these decisions were made, and no input was taken from us.”
At the vote, which is scheduled for Nov. 17, a board member could always raise a motion to delay the vote in some regard. The motion would need to be seconded, then discussed, and would need a majority of the board's vote before it would be passed.