Detroit Plans to Close 44 Schools in June

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Detroit plans to close 44 city schools in June to help cut a deficit near $220 million, city officials said March 17.

The city’s school system is facing declining enrollment as families leave the city for better opportunities. Detroit closed 29 schools last summer.

According to the Associated Press, school data shows that enrollment in Detroit Public Schools has declined from 164,500 in the 2002-2003 school year to 87,700 in the current school year, leaving some schools half-full.

“This [closure plan] creates a leaner, smarter DPS by taking into account citywide demographic trends,” Robert Bobb, Detroit’s emergency financial manager told the AP. “We’re still going to grow the district. We’re going to do it realistically.”

Among the schools to be closed is Hattie M. Carstens Elementary School, which was named one of 25 “high performing” Detroit schools in 2009 by the Skillman Foundation; the honor came with a $100,000 grant.

The prospect of losing such schools has left some city parents upset.

“I am not happy about it, but the population of the city is shrinking and the people who have the means are moving out,” Jena Williams, 41, told the AP. Her daughter’s school is on the list of schools to be closed.

“You’ve got to give DPS a chance,” Williams said. “You’ve got to give Detroit a chance. I’m trying to.”