A plan that would close Lenox Elementary School, at 5th and G Street SE, and shift Lenox students to neighboring Brent and Giddings schools was endorsed last week by a 6-4 vote of advisory neighborhood commission 6B.
The plan, a 34-page document called "alternative educational plan for Ward 6 west" (west of the Anacostia River), also recommended possibly closing Buchanan Elementary School, 13th and E Streets SE, and keeping Logan Elementary School, 3rd and G Streets NE, open only for adult education and community services.
Ward 6 school board member John E. Warren presented the plan, which was prepared over the past year by a task force of school principals, parents, and community residents from the area affected. Warren said the task force was formed "because we realized some schools were going to have to be closed, and it was better to do it as a community."
The report said that closing Lenox school "would accrue to the school system a savings of $96,113 in total maintenace and operational costs." It recommended using $24,000 of this amount in the newly merged schools for supplies and equipment.
Half of the students now at Lenox would be reasigned to Giddings under the plan. Another fourth would be assigned to Brent and the remaining fourth would attend the Van Ness Elementary School in Ward 2.
The reassignment of pupils, said the report, "will allow those students from the public housing development to have an integrated education experience on the hill." At both Lenox and Giddings, a high percentage of students live in public housing. Brent is the only school in the cluster with a substancial white enrollment - about 50 per cent. The cluster I planning group would outline the criteria by which the student assignments would be made, according to the report.
Larry Hansen of 131 61th St. SE, whose son attends Brent, said that his child was already in a class with 30 students. "Now 50 more children are going to be sent there," he said. Hansen said he had attended meetings of the cluster I planning group but had never participated in a decision to close the Lenox School.
Warren replied that "I cluster I, the people did not choose to participate. They were informed that decisions would be made for them.
No Brent parents were included in the list of task force participants.
According to at-large school board member Elizabeth Kane, who spoke briefly at the meeting, the board closed 13 schools at the beginning of this academic year. No schools in Ward 6 were closed, although several had appeared on a list being considered for closing. Kane said that recommendations for schools to be closed at the end of this academic year are due from superintendent Vincent Reed in January.
All of the 18 elementary schools in Ward 6 West are under-enrolled relative to building capacity, according to the task force report. For planning purposes, the taksk force divided the schools within a few blocks of each other. Those clusters, which have not already recommended school consolidations within their areas, are expected to do so by early 1978.
Warren emphasized that the report was not a final document.
The task foce also recommended that the Buchanan School at 13th E Streets SE be closed if any elementary school in cluster II had to be closed. "The closing of Buchanan would save the school system $94,694 in total maintenance and operating cost," the report said.
In cluster V, the task force proposed that the students at the Logan Elementary School at 3rd and G Streets NE be transferred to other schools within the cluster. The school building would continue to be used for adult education, day care, and other community services.