The Baltimore school board met Tuesday night and voted to close four local schools. These schools presented with declining enrollment, with one school exhibiting poor academic performance and declining enrollment annually. Samuel F.B. Morse Elementary School will annex with Frederick Elementary School this summer. The Frederick Elementary School is a new building and both schools are only a mile apart.
Grave Park Elementary/Middle School is relatively small, with only 282 students. The school will close in 2018 and annex with Calvin Rodwell Elementary School and get a new building.
Baltimore I.T. Academy exhibited poor academic performance and low enrollment, is scheduled to close next year. Northwestern High School will annex with Forest Park High, which already share space. Both schools were competing for a limited number of students. The school will be relocated to the renovated Forest Park building next year.
School officials have already recommended that Furley Elementary School, which has structural and roofing damage, to relocate to the Thurgood Marshall High School building. The repair process is estimated to take any where between three to five years to complete.
The talk of closing the Renaissance Academy, which is housed on the third floor of Booker T. Washington Middle School, has drew some criticism, so school system officials have deferred the decision until January 24. The officials have been working for some time with Renaissance administrators and school boosters, with the possibility of relocating the school to another site. Last year, three Renaissance students were killed, with one being related to a stabbing incident involving Ananias Jolley and Donte Crawford.
Helena Hicks, 82, civil rights activist, says the school should remain open. Her children attended the school about 50 years ago. She went on to say that children will have to pass by liquor stores and busy intersections to make it to Calvin Rodwell and the decision would not be made in a white neighborhood.
“They wouldn’t do this in Roland Park,” she said. “You wouldn’t do it anywhere that was white. But you think you can march into a black community, no matter what it looks like.”
Officials to determine whether to close, relocate or merge schools in the region, examining enrollment and academic performance each year. Baltimore is the only school system in the region to plan school closures. Several school systems are planning to build new schools to offset the growing enrollment.