Denver Public Schools wants to close these 10 schools as enrollment drops


Denver Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school district, is proposing to close 10 elementary and middle schools across the city as it faces declining enrollment.

The district’s announcement on Tuesday has been highly anticipated by families who feared their children’s school could be on the chopping block, and just last week members of the Board of Education acknowledged they had a difficult task ahead of them in deciding which buildings to shutter.

Here are the DPS schools the district is recommending for closure:

  • Columbian Elementary, with students going to Trevista at Horace Mann
  • Palmer Elementary, with K-5 students going to Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment. Palmer will become a preschool.
  • Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy, with students going to Valverde Elementary
  • Schmitt Elementary, with students going to Godsman Elementary
  • Eagleton Elementary, with students going to Cowell Elementary
  • Fairview Elementary, with K-5 students going to Cheltenham Elementary School
  • Colfax Elementary, with K-5 students going to Cheltenham. Colfax will become a preschool.
  • International Academy of Denver at Harrington, with students entering a new enrollment zone with Columbine Elementary and Swansea Elementary
  • Denver Discovery School, with students entering the Greater Park Hill-Central Park Enrollment Zone
  • Whittier K-8, with students going to schools in the Greater Five Points Elementary Enrollment Zone and the Near Northeast Middle School Enrollment Zone

K-12 schools across the U.S. are seeing fewer students enroll — a trend that is hitting Colorado districts financially as schools are funded based on the number of students that attend. So in response, some districts are closing schools.

Next month, the school board overseeing Jeffco Public Schools, the state’s second-largest district, will vote on whether to close 16 elementary schools. If approved, the decision would displace more than 2,400 students and roughly 400 full-time employees.

Statewide K-12 enrollment fell by 1,174 students to 855,482 pupils in fall 2021. There are multiple reasons for the decline, including shifting populations and declining birth rates.

In Denver, researchers and the district have said gentrification is partly to blame as families struggle to afford housing. Families have worried that the closures will disproportionately affect students of color.

Enrollment at DPS peaked in 2019 and between the fall of that year and the fall of 2021, the district lost more than 3,600 students. DPS’s total enrollment sits at just more than 90,000, according to a report by the district.


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