Oakridge Elementary School

Broward County (Florida) district superintendent recommends closing 3 schools

April 30, 2024
A more drastic alternative plan for addressing enrollment declines would close 42 schools.

The Broward County (Florida) district has put forth two specific plans to address a significant decline in student enrollment: One would close three schools, and the other would close 42.

The Miami Herald reports that the first plan, which Superintendent Howard Hepburn is recommending, would affect 30 schools, three of which would close: Oakridge Elementary in Hollywood, Broward Estates Elementary in Lauderhill and Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach.

Olsen and Broward Estates are both underenrolled. Olsen has about 500 students enrolled, but a capacity for 1,100. Broward Estates has about 250 students, but a capacity for about 700. Oakridge isn’t underenrolled, but the facilities were built before 1960 and the school is graded a D by the state.

The other 27 schools under Hepburn’s plan would be affected by boundary changes, public-private partnerships, repurposings, and program and grade reconfigurations.

The second plan for dealing with underenrollment would involve downsizing the district to reduce classroom capacity to match current student enrollment. The district, with more than 250,000 students, is the sixth-largest public school system in the United States.

Forty-two schools—32 elementary, eight middle and two high schools that have not been identified publicly—would  close and all school boundaries would be redrawn. The second plan would eliminate the nearly 54,000 empty seats in the district, but would likely lead to the end of all magnet programs, school choice and reassignments because every school would be operating at capacity.

The school board is scheduled to vote on June 18 on a final plan.

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