It became clear at Monday night’s community meeting about proposed Denver school closures that a revolt is brewing on the school board that is likely to send Superintendent Alex Marrero and his team back to square one as they try to “right-size” the district.
Denver Families for Public Schools, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on increasing civic engagement and voter participation to help families better engage their public school system, recently launched a training program for prospective school board candidates. There's still time to sign up for the next session, which begins Nov. 11
EDUCATE Denver, a new coalition of civic and business leaders created to push for better academic outcomes and the closing of opportunity gaps in Denver Public Schools, issued a statement Friday detailing how it believes DPS should go about deciding which schools should close as enrollment declines.
Denver Public Schools’ recently promoted special education director was hired by district officials who did not know he had been accused of making sexually inappropriate comments to high school girls when he was principal of a California school, where he had used a different first name.
Mario Giardiello: As the principal, I needed to help the community transition from advocating for their school to stay open to being a leader that supported the many decisions families and staff had to make for themselves.
Some board members are backpedaling as fast as possible from the understandably unpopular recommendation to close schools. But if their concern is so great, they could and should have intervened sooner.
School closing is a classic problem of termination. Many of the possible benefits, such as reducing the district’s budget deficit, benefit everyone just a little bit and often in the long term. The harms, on the other hand, are felt intensely by a few and appear immediately. There is rarely a constituency to close a school, but always one to oppose it.
Laura Lefkowits served as an at-large member of the Denver School Board from 1995-1999. She is an education policy consultant and founding member of Park Hill Neighbors for Equity in Education (PHNEE.org). She has two children who are DPS alumni and two grandchildren currently attending DPS schools.