No Seattle School Closures

For now:

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Raj Manhas apparently has changed his mind about closing 10 schools under a school-restructuring plan to save money.

Sure there was a lot of backlash against his proposals. However, given shifts in demographics and a clear need to move beyond the long failed factory school system it is hard to visualize a scenario that does not include the closures that are becoming increasingly common across the US:

The number of California public schools closing more than quadrupled in 2003 from the prior year, with most in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area

, says Shelley Lapkoff, a Berkeley demographics consultant. With elementary schools closing now, she expects middle and high schools to follow by the end of the decade.

Other districts confirm the demographic trend is nationwide: Minneapolis, which has closed and leased six school buildings since 2000, will close at least 15 more over two years.

Detroit plans to shut 34 schools at the end of this year, on top of 21 buildings closed in the past five years.

Pittsburgh reports it has saved $17.3 million from consolidation, including the closing of a dozen schools last year.

Cincinnati closed 14 schools in 1995 and is discussing shutting at least 14 more.

There will be no perfect solution but, folks, the process should start sooner rather than later.

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