A task force of community leaders and city officials gathered for the first time Wednesday to discuss potential school closures at Dayton Public Schools.
Nine under-capacity West Dayton schools, Boys Prep, EJ Brown, Rosa Parks, Meadowdale Elementary, Meadowdale High, World of Wonder, Wogaman, Westwood, and the Innovative Learning Center at Jackson Center, are being reviewed by the committee.
At the meeting, district spokesperson Marsha Bonhart emphasized that not all of those schools will be targeted for closure.
“We’re trying to get those schools to be as close to 70% [capacity] as possible. So it doesn’t mean that all of the schools on the list will be closed. There will be adjustments made for those buildings and we don’t know what they are yet.”
Bonhart said the district may decide to reshuffle students attending more highly populated schools to the schools operating well under capacity. Members of the task force said other solutions will also be explored.
Task force members spent much of the meeting trying to understand the root of the district enrollment decline. Data presented at the meeting revealed numbers are expected to continue to decrease over the next few years.
They also brainstormed what factors to consider in the school closure evaluation process.
“I think we should think about, if a school is recommended for closure, what is the potential for it to continue to be an asset in the community,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.
Other factors discussed included racial equity, school staffing needs, and financial responsibility.
The next public task force meeting will be held February 20. The group is set to turn over its recommendations to the superintendent in early Spring.