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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Fewer students means fewer schools

"Faced with millions in budget shortfalls and declining enrollment," Seattle Public Schools is looking at closing schools and laying off staff, reports Monica Velez in the Seattle Times.

"Consolidation" could save $28 million, funding "better access to specialized programs, social workers, specialists, school counselors and nurses," say staffers.

Nearby Bellevue will close three elementary schools next year.

Once the "fastest-growing urban district" in the U.S., Denver Public Schools opened new schools to match growing enrollment, reports Jessica Seaman in the Denver Post. Now, following three consecutive years of falling enrollment, the district faces a potential $9 million budget shortfall.

"Superintendent Alex Marrero last fall proposed closing 10 schools, but the district’s Board of Education rejected the plan even after it was narrowed to just two," reports Seaman. Then the board "rescinded its 2021 resolution that had directed the superintendent to come up with a consolidation plan."

Elementary enrollment has fallen since 2014; middle-school enrollment is down since 2019, she writes. But the district operates the same number of schools.

Closing schools is a painful decision: Neighborhoods suffer when a neighborhood school shuts its doors. But it costs a lot of money to run a half-empty school.

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1 Comment

Feb 14, 2023

What was done here, aside from enrolling foreign nationals for no fee, was repurposing the empty classrooms into offices for staff and teachers or special needs small group space. What the public suggested was lowering class size and if anything was left, offering rental office space.

Its likely, outside of cities, that the potential savings from closing a building would be negated by the add'l transportation costs.

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