Jobs and Programs Endangered as DCPS Announces Plans to Close 20 Schools

Members of the Council of School Officers (CSO), AFSA Local 4, in Washington, D.C., are in danger of losing their jobs after DC Public Schools (DCPS) announced its proposal to close 20 schools, 18 of which would close as early as the fall of 2013. These schools are suffering funding and student enrollment shortages, largely due to the increasing number of students heading to charter schools.

“Many of our members will be affected since they are non-classroom employees,” said Aona Jefferson, CSO president. “The school system will only have concern for classroom teachers and those directly connected to the students.”

While DCPS presents the closures as a solution to address underfunding and underenrollment, referring to the plan as “an opportunity to stabilize a system of traditional neighborhood schools,” it is in fact an example of bad judgment and shortsightedness.

“If school closings are used to eliminate significant numbers of jobs, then there is a real concern that the remaining employees in the consolidated schools will not have the time or resources to provide the type of support needed by students and their families,” said Jefferson at a Nov. 19 DC Council hearing on the closures. “They’re [DCPS] using this as their hiring practice of choice and a solution to any budget problem they encounter, especially when it comes to providing services to the special education and special needs population, our most needy and most deserving students.”

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson has stated her plans to finalize the list of proposed school closures by January 2013.

Check out this story and many others in the upcoming edition of the AFSA Winter newsletter!