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Education

Flint closing three more schools

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Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio

“We have to right-size this school district.”

That’s what outgoing interim Flint schools superintendent Larry Watkins said tonight, after the school district voted to close three more schools.

Closing the three elementary schools will save the district an estimated $7 million over the next seven years.  

The district is trying to eliminate a $21.9 million deficit by 2021.

This is a path the district has trod before.

At one time, there were 46,000 students in the Flint school district. There are now fewer than 7,000. The district at one time owned and operated more than 50 buildings. With the closing of the three schools, it will be down to 15 this fall. 

Several speakers at tonight’s meeting spoke against closing the schools. They cited the schools’ importance as neighborhood anchors. 

Though he admits it's an emotional decision for students and parents with ties to the closing schools, Watkins says it’s a decision that had to be made.

“At the end of the day we have to do what’s best, not for the district, but for the students that attend schools in this school district,” says Watkins.

The hope is the closing of the three schools will not lead to more students leaving the district. If more students leave, the district may have to close more schools.  

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