Breaking News
More () »

DPS recommends 3 schools for closure due to 'critically low enrollment'

The DPS Board of Education will formally vote on whether to close the three schools at a meeting Thursday.

DENVER — The Denver Public Schools Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on the recommended closures of three schools due to "critically low enrollment."

The schools recommended for closure are Denver Discovery, Fairview Elementary, and the Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy (MSLA). 

The plan calls for closing the three schools by the end of the 2022-23 school year. Students at MSLA would be unified with Valverde, and Fairview Elementary students would be unified with Cheltenham for the 2023-24 school year. Denver Discovery students and families would be given priority enrollment to secure a preferred school within the district.

"I think overwhelmed, exhausted is a good way of putting it because you know our educators have been dealing with this last year in depth but also the last few years," said Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA). "It's difficult when we have disruption. It's that way for our educators, but more importantly, it's how our students are feeling about this."

A presentation to be given at a special board meeting Thursday details the projected total enrollment at the three schools falling short of expectations.

Credit: DPS

Staff at all of three schools are guaranteed other positions because of an agreement DCTA made with DPS ahead of any consolidation. 

"It's about the continuity for the students and making sure students have access to those excellent educators that they've had in these schools," Gould said. 

Community members, parents and teachers have been vocal against the possibility of closing the schools at DPS meetings. 

"Fairview is where I learned to teach. The community embraced me. That’s why I come back – the community," said Ashley Juhala, a special education teacher at the school. "Sun Valley residents are incredibly resilient. It's unlike anywhere else."

She said teaching this year, while the future of the school has been debated at school board meetings for months, has been difficult.

"It's been repeatedly traumatizing, we had this conversation last year. And it was traumatic. We had this conversation in the fall and it was traumatic," she said. "And it's kind of like, trying to get through a school year and being repeatedly told, you're dying. It's like the opposite of speaking life into a community."

The problem of declining enrollment isn't new. But the Fairview community argues their situation is different.

New affordable housing is opening soon, and the Denver Housing Authority expects hundreds of school-aged children to return to the neighborhood. DPS said it was not enough to save the school.

"So we have this investment in this community happening, and concurrently, we have DPS divesting from this community," Juhala said.

For now, Juhala said she and her colleagues at Fairview have decided to approach this school year in a way they hope will benefit their students in this time of uncertainty.

"I feel like all of us made a conscious decision, in the fall when the conversation was halted, that we're going to live like there's no tomorrow – that we're going to live like we're going to be here for 100 years because that’s what our kids need from us," she said.

"So it's making sure the kids know that the building might be closing but the adults who love them and see them every day, most of us are going to stay with them."

> Top stories from 9NEWS curated daily just for you! Sign up for the 9NEWSLETTER right now to get can’t-miss stories, Next and Broncos content, weather and more delivered right to your inbox.



Subscribe to our daily 9NEWSLETTER for top stories from 9NEWS curated daily just for you. Get content and information right now for can’t-miss stories, Next and Broncos content, weather and more delivered right to your inbox.   

iTunes: http://on9news.tv/itunes
Google Play: http://on9news.tv/1lWnC5n  


ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KUSA. 

For both Apple TV and Fire TV, search for "9NEWS" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out