D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s proposal to close 20 underenrolled schools appears unlikely to produce substantial savings next year, according to a report scheduled for release Tuesday by the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization.
The report is based on an analysis by education finance lawyer and longtime D.C. schools budget watchdog Mary Levy, who estimates that the proposed closings would save about $10.4 million in staffing costs in the 2013-14 school year.
Those savings, according to Levy’s analysis, would be nearly erased by the cost of the closures themselves — an estimated $10.2 million to pay for inventory, relocation and storage.
The analysis does not attempt to forecast potential savings beyond 2013-14. Such savings would depend on unknown factors, including whether the school system maintains or leases vacant buildings or releases them from its inventory, the institute said.
The report urges school officials to clarify in concrete terms how the closings will strengthen schools that remain open.