DENVER, Colorado — While school board members voted no to close two schools on Thursday night, Denver Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said that the district will still have to look at a future that will somehow include closures.
Measures to close the Denver Discovery School in Central Park and the Math Science Leadership Academy in Athmar Park both failed by a 6-1 vote.
Those schools were the two remaining after an initial list of ten middle and high schools were considered for consolidation due to an expected budget deficit over the next several years.
Marrero said Denver Discovery School only has about 90 students enrolled. Because it would take such a "tremendous amount of money" to keep the school open, he said the district will have to look for another way to potentially close it, unless something changes.
"The likelihood of that school operating next year are slim, very slim," Marrero said. He also said there is concern that staff will leave while knowing the future may be uncertain at the school.
If the board cannot come to a decision about closures, Marrero said that he and his administration team may be faced with making decisions that would not need board approval. One alternative option would be operational closures.
"It’s no different than an operational closure on a snowy day," he explained. "When I can’t guarantee the safety of your child, much less the education of the child, then we do an operational closure on the day of. This will be a terminal operational closure."
He said he hopes that in the future, the board can come to agreement and find common ground as they work to overcome the funding deficit the district faces.
"There is no way that we can continue this way – whether it’s going to be unanimous or not – but it will definitely be a yes in the future," he said. "It’s unavoidable and inevitable."
The administration has its budget meetings in January, so they will have a clearer understanding of the deficit for next year at that time.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Education stories from 9NEWS