School closures saved CMS millions of dollars, report states
by Staff Writer
The 10 closings, which were approved by former superintendent Peter Gorman, included Davidson IB Middle School.
The district saved $5.2 million a year on support staff and $138 million on school renovations by merging students from closed schools into other schools. Savings included $10.7 million from a 2007 bond package, which included renovations at Davidson IB.
Although Davidson IB’s closing drew ire from local parents, a majority of the controversy centered on the district’s decision to close several inner city high schools, including Wadell High, and open eight pre-kindergarten through eighth grade schools.
Academic results at these new schools have been disappointing, according to the report. Less than half of students at six of the schools passed state-mandated End-of-Grade reading tests, according to the report. Enrollment at many of these new schools has also exceeded capacity since the beginning of the school year.
“The academic growth and performance levels vary from school to school,” deputy superintendent Ann Clark said. “Our next step is to learn from our principals and their feedback to see where we could improve.”
Superintendent Heath Morrison told the board that low test scores shouldn’t necessarily be attributed to the school closures. He said it would take about four years before the district learns the full academic impact of kindergarten through eighth grade schools.
“I’m very much a person who believes in K-8 as a model,” he said.