Parents voice concerns to DPS for the first time time about potentially closing schools
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Dayton Public Schools has nine buildings on the chopping block for closure, meeting with parents Thursday night for the first time to talk about concerns.
The list is currently;
- Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy
- Edwin Joel Brown Middle School
- Innovative Learning Center
- Meadowdale High School
- Meadowdale Pre K-6
- Rosa Parks Early Learning Center
- Westwood Pre K-6
- Wogaman Middle School
- World of Wonder Pre K-6
No final decisions have been made on which if any of the schools will close.
Parents who met with district officials at Westwood Thursday night for the first of nine meetings, said they are glad the district is listening, but are still unnerved about closures.
"My biggest concern is that the school will close and we'll have to relocate," said parent Titus Thompson, who has had all five of his kids go through Westwood.
"It was alarming because it was like ok what do I do now," said another parent Kenya Washington.
Dayton Public Schools announced in January the potential closure of 9 schools, Westwood Included.
They are fighting declining enrollment over the last five years district-wide.
"I know a lot of parents are concerned with the same issues I'm concerned about, nobody wants their kids to go all the way across town," said Thompson.
Parents were told during Thursday's meeting that Westwood's enrollment is up five percent since December, from 48 percent to 53 percent.
The cutoff to make the list was 50 percent, but is it enough to save the building?
"Can I say whether or not Westwood will close, definitively, no," said Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, acting superintendent for the district.
It's still a cheaper fix than some of the others at risk.
Lolli said Westwood needs about $75,000 in repairs, where others on the list need around $1.5 million in repairs.
The district has 28 buildings, Lolli said several are only half full.
"It's about more than just numbers it's about more than just finances, it’s about making sure that every student in this district has an equal opportunity to for all the programs that we offer across the district," Dr. Lolli said.
Parents at Thursday's meeting were able to give input on what's important to them moving forward.
"Communicating more with the parents like we did tonight," said Washington.
A special task force will make the final decisions on closures in March.
"I think staying the course will be positive for parents, staying the course will be positive for students," Lolli said.