Public to Testify on School Closures

10/22/2012, 12:19 p.m.

The D.C. Council will present two hearings next month to allow the public to comment regarding recommended school closures in the city.

The hearings, to be led by At-Large Council member Phil Mendelson, will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 15 and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 19 in Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building in downtown D.C.

According to a hearing notice, the Council "expects that [District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson] will have announced proposed school closings the week before the hearings."

Last year DeShawn Wright, deputy mayor for education, commissioned the Illinois Facility Fund (IFF) to conduct a study which separated schools into tiers and ranked them in accordance with standardized test score results.

The study offered five recommendations that include closing or turning around several DCPS Schools and replacing them with high-performing publicly-funded charter school.

The study was funded by the Wal-Mart Foundation and several other interests -- which like IFF -- are heavily invested in charter schools.

The Council expects to schedule at least 50 witnesses for each hearing, and the deadline for signing up to testify is Nov. 13. Speakers will deliver their testimony in the order their requests were received.

DCPS's boundaries haven't changed much over the past few decades, and the Council will also listen to testimony surrounding the School Boundary Review Act -- which would require the school system to regularly review and adjust boundaries and feeder patterns.