WYSO

DPS Official Proposes Closing Valerie Elementary School, Consolidating Middle Schools

Mar 13, 2018

Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli presented a proposal to consolidate, close or reorganize some district schools and buildings over the next three years.
Credit Jess Mador / WYSO

The Dayton Public Schools board Tuesday heard a proposal to consolidate, close or reorganize some district schools and buildings.

Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli presented her detailed three-year proposal, which listed a range of recommendations, including a call to close and demolish Valerie Elementary in Northwest Dayton, consolidate middle school students into just four schools and relocate DPS headquarters.

The proposal also calls for finding ways to boost student enrollment at remaining schools. 

Read more about the proposal on the DPS website

The proposal follows weeks of community meetings and study aimed at addressing low student enrollment and other underutilized district buildings, in a process the district is calling "right-sizing."

More than 100 people attended the meeting.

Lolli told the crowd her proposal considered enrollment, academics, discipline and other data. And, she stressed the district is listening to community concerns.

“We want the parents to work with us. We want the community to be involved with us," she says. "I hope that by the recommendations that we're making and the idea that we're having a three-year plan, which was a recommendation from many of the community groups, that people recognize that we did hear their voices and that we did listen to what they had to say and offer to us.”

The proposal also calls for studying DPS high schools to determine which -- if any -- would close over the next two years.

Most schools mentioned for potential consolidation are on the west side.

More than a dozen community members gave testimony on the superintendent’s proposal.

Among the speakers was Hashim Jabar from the group Racial Justice Now.

He criticized the board for its handling of the district’s reorganization process. And he says his group is still waiting for a response to a recent letter citing community concerns that he says was sent to the board. 

“We are asking you to pump the brakes, to slow down, to clarify the information, to speak directly to the community, to make a transparent process. We're asking for a "no vote" until you address our letter, until you address our communities, until you give proper respect to your constituents,” he says.  

If approved, the initial changes would take effect by next fall. School board officials are expected to vote on the recommendations at an upcoming board meeting.