Thirty-eight Michigan schools—including 25 in Detroit—are potential targets for closure after the state's School Reform Office (SRO) released a list of schools with a persistent record of poor performance.
The Detroit Free Press reports that if the state moves forward with closures, it would affect more than 18,000 students. Natasha Baker, the state school reform officer, says the final decision on closure won't be made until late February or early March.
A news release from the reform office spells out the process that could lead to school closures.
"Over the next 30 to 45 days the SRO will examine the geographic, academic, and enrollment capacity of other public school options for children attending one of the 38 failing schools. It is possible that closing a school is not feasible due to unreasonable hardship for the children attending that school because no better options are available. If that is determined, the SRO will rescind the closure notice for that school and implement a different turnaround option. The other options include naming a CEO, changing the redesign plan, or placement into the State School Reform District."
The list of 38 includes eight schools that are part of the state-run Education Achievement Authority, a reform district created in 2012 to turn around 15 poor-performing schools in the Detroit district.
Several other districts have multiple schools on the list: Benton Harbor Area Schools has three and there are two each in Kalamazoo Public Schools, Saginaw Public Schools and the Pontiac School District.
Pontiac High School, the only comprehensive high school in the Pontiac District, is on the list. That raises questions about where the students would be sent if the school is closed.
Parents with children in one of the 38 schools will soon receive letters notifying them that the school may close. Those letters will outline their options, including the names of schools they may be able to send their children.