DCPS Chancellor Henderson released a list of closings and consolidations for DCPS schools in January 2013. These closings represent a significant change. DCPS schools all ready serve fewer children than charter schools in three wards of the city. Given the history of DCPS closings the fear is that a significant number of students will actually be lost to DCPS as people choose a charter or choose to leave the city. If this does happen, DC could become a place where families in a few wards have the right of attending a neighborhood school responsible to the citizens through their democratically elected representatives. All others will have access by lottery to publicly funded privately run schools. Please review the documents and weigh in on this important issue. DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson has announced a proposed list of school closings. The documents posted below are to support citizens as they engage with this proposal. The proposal closes Spingarn as a neighborhood high school; closes Spingarn STAY; converts Roosevelt and Cardozo to grades 6 through 12, expands School Without Walls by 300 to 400 students by closing Francis Stevens and expanding SWW to two sites . For school year 2014-15 the proposal closes Sharpe Health and Mamie D Lee moving those students to a renovated River Terrace. The further proposals affecting elementary and middle schools will have a large effect on the feeder patterns to the high schools. the most recent database is below under 2013 database as is the judge's decision in the request for an injunction - Smith v Henderson. Mary Levy has provided the background piece printed below and the database..
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON DCPS SCHOOL CLOSINGS: 2013 FINAL
By Mary Levy May 2013
1. Basis of the 2013 proposed closings
· Proposed closings are based on enrollment, plus factors of distance, facility condition, major roads and other barriers, but not test scores.
· DCPS main argument supporting the closings is that small schools are more costly and that the closures will produce savings to support “more robust programming” in the remaining schools. The system promises “additional funding to designated receiving schools.” See Consolidation Plan, p. 6.
· Although DCPS does not claim that the students in closed schools are being transferred to higher-performing or less segregated schools, the court in Smith v. Henderson does -- emphatically. See Opinion, pp. 2, 19-20, 29-30.
2. Resources at the consolidated schools FY 2014: most students will have less funding per pupil than in the current year
· Since staff costs will rise by about $150 per pupil city-wide, schools with any smaller gain will lose ground.
· Of 31 closing and receiving schools for whom comparisons are possible, students at 18 will have $300-$900 less funding per pupil next year – a nominal loss of $300 being equivalent to a real loss of $450 per pupil. Except for Winston middle schoolers, the rest will have no significant gain
· 13 of 20 receiving schools are in the bottom quarter of per pupil funding among schools of their levels. Only three are in the top half.
· Hendley ES (Ferebee-Hope) has suffered a 9% cut in per pupil funding for general education; Stanton ES (Winston EC) an 8% cut, Kelly Miller MS (Ron Brown MS) a 9% cut.
See Database 2013 closings-revised, derived from DCPS website and budget documents submitted to DC Council.
3. Program improvements city-wide are offset by program losses
· In real terms there is scarcely any increase in overall funding next year, except for special education, which receives an $11 M increase. The dollar increase for general education of $8 M is mostly absorbed by $6 M cost increases for staff.
· DCPS has added foreign language to art, music, and physical education for elementary grades in FY 2014, but almost half the elementary schools (32 of 78) have no new funding to cover it, so art and music instruction have to be cut.
· Although DCPS is increasing per pupil spending for general education at elementary schools – by providing extra teachers to eliminate split-grade classes, the system is cutting per pupil spending and raising pupil/staff ratios for general education at middle and high schools.
See Memo re DCPS Local School Budgets
4. Students affected: Virtually all students in schools to be closed are minorities and over 80% are low-income
· These schools enroll a grand total of 2 white students out of 2,642 who will be displaced.
· 93% of students in schools to be closed are black and 6% are Hispanic. Of total enrollment in 2012, 72% are black, 14% Hispanic, and 9% white.
· 96% of students in schools to be closed are low-income. Of total enrollment in 2013, 77% are low-income.
See “Database 2013 closings-revised,” derived from DCPS website.
5. Students will not be transferred to less segregated schools
· Of 11 closing schools, students at nine will attend schools that are almost 100% African-American. At the remaining schools, some black students will encounter more Latinos, some fewer.
· None of the receiving schools has a noticeable number of white students. Most have none-2. Two of the PK-8 schools among which Macfarland students will be scattered have 14 white students, others 4 or 6, all grade level unknown.
See “Database 2013 closings-revised,” derived from DCPS website and documents submitted by OSSE to the DC Council.
6. Students affected: Special education students are affected disproportionately by the proposed closings
· Students in all levels of special education services are 14% of all DCPS students, but 29% of those in the schools to be closed.
· Students at the higher disability levels are even more disproportionately affected, being 4% of all DCPS students but 17% of those in schools to be closed. Over one-fifth of them will be uprooted.
· All three of the special education schools are part of the closings; they enroll about one-third of the special education students in the schools to be closed. The remainder are in neighborhood schools.
See “Database 2013 closing-revised,” from OSSE website, Annual enrollment audits
7. Students affected: One-third of those to be displaced are in schools affected by earlier recent closings
· Earlier closings were in 2008, except for McGogney to MC Terrell in 2006
· These communities would be subjected to continuing disruption.
· See “Database 2013 closings-revised,” derived from DCPS 2008 documents
8. Test scores at most receiving schools are a little higher than at their sending schools but caveats apply
· Two of three receiving schools cited by the court in Smith vs. Henderson as having comparative test scores significantly higher (Hendley and Langdon) have had these scores invalidated by OSSE for critical violations of testing integrity.
· Because the number of students tested at most schools is relatively small, proficiency levels often swing by 10 percentage points or more, both up and down, from year to year, rendering most comparisons questionable
· Virtually all the proficiency levels at receiving schools are below the DCPS average for their level, which is itself below 50%.
See “Database 2013 closings-revised,” derived from OSSE website and documents submitted to the DC Council.
9. Enrollment loss after 2008 closings
When 23 schools were closed in the summer of 2008, the combined enrollment of closing and receiving schools dropped by 3,000. DCPS as a whole lost over 4,000 students, while charter schools gained almost 4,000, twice as big an increase as in other years. Recently overall DCPS enrollment seems to have stabilized, but not in grades 1-12. Rather, losses in these grades have been offset by increases in enrollment in early childhood education, made possible by new DC Government funding for these non-compulsory school age slots.
The question is how many of these new students will remain in DCPS after the early childhood years. DCPS has a long history of shrinking cohorts. For many years, one-third to one-quarter of students in each first grade class have left by 5th grade, and one-half by 7th or 8th grade. These are families who have tried DCPS and left.
See “DCPS enrollment by grade fall 90-fall 11,” derived from OSSE annual enrollment audits.
10. Public school enrollment change is much smaller than school-age population loss per U.S. Census
· As of 2010, the District had almost 15,000 fewer school-age children than in 2000, but only about 2,500 fewer enrolled in DCPS and charter schools combined.
· Moreover, the total audited enrollment in SY 2012 (2011-12) was higher than in SY 2000, and the unaudited SY 2013 enrollment is higher than not only that of SY 2000 but that of SY 1990.
11. DCPS standards for “under-enrollment” and charter school comparison
· Fewer than: Elementary – 350 PK-8 – 500 Middle – 450 High school – 600
· Three-quarters of public charter school buildings were under-enrolled by these standards in SY 2012, including almost all schools with secondary grades. (Excludes early childhood, alternative, special education and adult schools). Derived from OSSE annual enrollment audit, fall 2011
12. What happens to the staff of the schools to be closed?
· All teachers, counselors, librarians, social workers, psychologists, and other ET-15 staff will be “excessed.” They can interview with the principal at the receiving school, and other principals, after budgets are finalized in the spring. These principals may hire them, but are free to take DCPS new hires instead.
· Teachers not hired elsewhere in the system by mid-August: those with an IMPACT rating of “minimally effective” will be terminated, and those rated “effective” or “highly effective” will have a choice of a $25,000 buyout, early retirement if eligible, or a year with pay to find a job, while working as assigned.
· Aides, custodians, business/clerical workers, and non ET-15 unionized employees will be placed in other positions in the system if available.
· All principals and assistant principals are subject to annual contract renewal.
See DCPS website, School Consolidation Staffing Overview.
13. How much money will the closings save?
· DCPS estimates annual savings of $8.5 million, but based on the 2008 experience as cited in the D.C. Auditor’s report, next year the cost of the closings will consume this.
· In subsequent years, the continuing cost of keeping the buildings in the inventory will consume some fraction of the $8.5 million, but may result in several millions in savings.
14. Enrollment expansion in four schools
· Part of the final closing-consolidation plan is the expansion of two Capitol Hill schools with special programs—Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan and the School-Within-A-School, also known as Reggio Emilia, formerly at Peabody, now at Logan, and scheduled to move into the Prospect building. These two schools are respectively 42% and 61% white, 19% and 7% low income, and serve a total of 15 special education and 2 ELL students between them.
· Another part of the final plan is expansion of the enrollments of two selective high schools, Banneker and School Without Walls. They are respectively 1% and 31% white, 61% and 23% low-income, and serve a total of 3 special education and 1 ELL student between them. Almost all students scored proficient on the 2012 DC CAS.
See “Database 2013 closings-revised”
15. Number of DCPS buildings active as schools
· The number would decrease by 10, with 5 fewer at the elementary and PK-8 level. Prospect, a special education school, will be re-opened as an elementary school.
· The number of middle schools would decrease by 3. Macfarland will be re-opened as swing space. There will be one fewer high school, but School Without Walls would expand into a second building that will house PK-grade 12.
See “DCPS Active School Buildings-Square Footage,” derived from DCPS documents
16. Disposition of buildings – “preliminary thoughts”
· Most to be kept in the DCPS inventory. Spingarn would be modernized as a career-technical high school – though it is immediately adjacent to the newly modernized Phelps career-technical high school. Macfarland would be used as swing space for Roosevelt HS modernization. Prospect would reopen for the School-Within-A School (see above). Others for undetermined use: Mamie D. Lee, Marshall, Garnet-Patterson, Davis, Kenilworth, Ron Brown, Ferebee-Hope.
· DCPS also has 11 previously closed buildings listed as “vacant.”
· One would be leased to a public charter school (“strategic partnerships”)—Sharpe Health, and three are “to be determined:” Hamilton, Winston, Terrell-McGogney.
See DCPS Building Reuse Inventory.
17. Who’s in charge?
· DCPS is run by the Mayor and Chancellor. The Council has power to enact legislation governing DCPS and to change line items in the DCPS budget, but has not changed DCPS budgets, and has not adopted any laws or rules requiring approval of school closings.
· Public charter schools are chartered and overseen by the DC Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB), an independent body appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. Charter schools must comply with laws generally applicable (such as building codes or immunization requirements) and with requirements of the charter school law enacted by Congress, and are otherwise governed by the terms of their charters. They can be closed for failure to meet any of the above or for serious fiscal mismanagement. The DCPCSB may, but does not have to charter up to 20 schools per year.
See “Public education org chart Aug 2012”
 The conversion of six Catholic schools to charter status brought 600-700 of their pupils into the charter system.
 These numbers include an estimate of the number of 18 year-olds by excluding those in zip codes housing college students. Since the Census is taken in April, most DCPS seniors are presumably at least 18 years old.