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Francis Stevens, Garrison Could Close in 2013

Though two Ward 2 schools could close under new policy, final decision will come only after public input, DC Public School Chancellor Kaya Henderson says.

Two Ward 2 Schools were among the 20 schools D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) administrators announced could close as part of a school consolidation and cost-savings effort.

Francis Stevens Education Campus and Garrison Elementary School were named on the list of schools, which spanned six wards, that could close their doors at the end of this school year, at the earliest.

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“To achieve our goals of a great school for every single student, we have to use all of our resources well – every dollar, every building, and every minute of instructional time. As our schools are currently organized, we can’t achieve our goals,” DC Public School Chancellor Kaya Henderson said in a press release.

Henderson hopes that the plan to "consolidate and reorganize" schools will allow for a better use of resources. No closures would go into effect until school ends in June 2013 -- perhaps even later.

Currently Ward 2 has seven traditional education campuses. The term "traditional campus" excludes application-based public schools like Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the School Without Walls.

If the proposed closures go through, Ward 2 will have one traditional middle school (Hardy Middle School in Burleith) and four traditional elementary schools, including the already crowded Hyde-Addison in Georgetown.

"I don’t know that’s sufficient for the population of students in Ward 2," said Jack Jacobson, the newly elected Ward 2 representative on the D.C. State Board of Education.

Students from the two closed Ward 2 schools will be reassigned to Seaton Elementary School (Ward 2), Hardy Middle School (Ward 2) or Marie Reed Elementary School (Ward 1), depending on where they live.

Garrison, which is located at 1200 S St. NW between Logan Circle and Shaw, went through a principal selection process just last year. New Principal Collin Hill was, according to Jacobson, the first choice of both the parents and Chancellor Henderson.

He said he was "shocked" Garrison was on the list.

"The PTA has worked so hard to bring the entire community together to support the school. And they've begun to show progress," Jacobson said.

"Couple that with a brand new Principal who has energized students and faculty, and it’s really disappointing," he added.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has already scheduled a public hearing on the Review of School Closures within DCPS and the School Boundary Review Act for 4 p.m. Nov. 15 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

"I can't know what the chancellor was thinking. All I can do is urge her and her staff to work with communities before dictating closures," Jacobson said.

Henderson, ready for a strong response to her suggestions, wrote, "This is a proposal and not a final decision. Final decisions have not, and will not be made until after the community has an opportunity to provide feedback through a series of meetings scheduled in the coming weeks."

She hopes to have the decisions finalized prior to the out-of-boundary lottery, which begins in January 2013.

The DCPS website lists several ways in which parents and the community can provide feedback:

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