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3 DPS schools off the chopping block

By sandycooke - May 17th, 2010, 22:35, Category: General

A minimum of 1,100 students can rest assured that their educational institutions will continue to be open as Detroit Public Universities prepares to announce this week a shorter list of schools that will close for great this summer.

A high graduation rate, a recruitment campaign and community investments had been essential inside choice to maintain open three universities -- Communication & Media Arts Large, Glazer Elementary and Dossin Elementary, DPS emergency financial manager Robert Bobb said Monday.

The three schools had been on a school closure list proposed in March because of declining enrollment and poor facilities.

The list had included 41 school buildings and one administrative facility. The proposal represented the largest school closure plan from the nation -- adding to the 100 DPS buildings that already have closed since 2005.

Bobb said the list is shrinking based on feedback from nine public meetings and 36 smaller discussions with parents and staff.

"We are not making these decisions lightly," he said.

The district has threatened 3 times since 2005 to close the deteriorating CMA Large, a small school with an estimated 473 students that has quietly earned the highest graduation rate inside the city at 96.6% compared with the state average of 75.2% and 59.6% at DPS.

CMA will continue to be in its building in northwest Detroit if it wins a makeover from a new NBC show which will debut inside fall called "School Pride."

This month, conditions from the school had been recorded and sent to the show's producers -- leaking windows, raggedy lockers and a faulty boiler. The facility needs at the very least $4.1 million in fixes.

Parents want to stay and say they fear a possible merger with another school.

"The small environment is why I brought my child to this school," said Victor Sanders, whose daughter is a sophomore at CMA. "We're willing to roll up our sleeves to do whatever we have to."

Parents and staff at Dossin Elementary saved their school by recruiting about 100 names of potential new students, while major investments from Focus: HOPE helped to save Glazer Elementary, Bobb said.

Focus: HOPE boards up vacant buildings near Glazer, cuts the grass and provides tutors, said Jacqueline James, president of the Glazer parent group.

William Jones Jr., CEO at Focus: HOPE, said staff helped the school earn a $50,000 technology award this year.

"We want the neighborhood to thrive, and the school is part of that," he said. "It's not about just having a school open, but a great school."


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