EDUCATION

Some D.C. schools closing, Mayor Gray says

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Washington D.C. has an "unsustainable" number of schools and some will be closed, says D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray Tuesday.

(Photo: Jay Westcott)

Speaking at a news conference at the Wilson Building alongside D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Gray said the city has too many schools and some of them are going to be closed. He said that the city is only averaging about 300 students per school.

"What we have is unsustainable, " Mayor Gray said. "When you put DCPS with public charter schools, you have 220 buildings. It's not sustainable."

The mayor said that compared to surrounding jurisdictions, including Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties, D.C. has more schools and fewer students than each.

Chancellor Henderson says that D.C. Public Schools is doing a major review of school facilities and will present a list for closure by January 2013. There is no word as to which schools may be shuttered.

She said the school system would work with communities on what residents would like to see happen with the vacant buildings.

Opposition to the plan has already emerged. Dorothy Douglas, who represents D.C.'s Ward 7 on the State Board of Education, complained that areas like hers will be targeted for school closings.

The mayor called the news conference to tout plans the city has for improving student learning and test scores, spurred by a $10 million fund that would focus on the 40 lowest performing schools in the city.

Remedies could including longer school days or school years for individual schools. Principals of D.C.'s schools will compete for the funding.

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