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Denver Housing Authority Pushes Back at DPS School Closure Plan

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Public Schools reported 145 students were enrolled at Fairview Elementary last October, from preschool to fifth grade.

Their 2023 projections show a drop in enrollment to 134 total students. The question was posed at a Thursday community meeting with the school district: Are there really fewer school-aged students in the neighborhood?

“We could’ve done things better. We had many missteps in terms of how we could’ve heard engagement from you all,” Superintendent Alex Marrero said.

Marrero admitted there have been issues with proposals to shut down campuses district-wide.

“We only have seven students that will be coming to Fairview as kindergartners next year,” a DPS official told parents in a meeting at the school.

What’s next for Fairview Elementary?

Thursday night, parents were offered several choices on what could happen to the school:

  • Shut it down at the end of the school year, allowing families priority to move to any other in DPS
  • Do the same but move all students to another school as a group
  • Shut down the school piecemeal, not enrolling any more students into the incoming grade.

The last option was offered, but not without a warning.

“As it was described, is a very brutal, cruel way on phasing out a school for a community that has been incredibly impacted because of what’s happened as of late,” Marrero said.

Parents gave their input into plans to shut down the school, but so did the Denver Housing Authority.

Denver Housing Authority weighs in on school debate

“We have a wait list of 900 folks, 900 families that are on just those wait lists, for 264 units,” Annie Hancock, director of the resident and community connections department, said.

Hancock mentioned low-income housing being built or already built with families living right across the street from Fairview Elementary.

“We still see,” Hancock said, “anywhere between 240 to 430 youth, DPS-eligible youth ages 6-11, coming back into the neighborhood.”

In the middle of this debate about numbers and housing and dollars and cents: parents and their students.

“Fairview, even if it’s not the best option is definitely the more convenient option,” one parent said.

DPS offered Cheltenham Elementary as an alternate school for parents to take their students.

Source: KDVR News