D.C. School Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie said yesterday several more city schools will probably have to be closed next year because of continuing enrollment decreases and financial shortages.
"We're going to have to do something about our small schools, parents, as much as you like little schools where there are 100 students and in some barely 100," McKenzie told a group of about 100 parents attending a weekend leadership conference at the 4-H National Center in Chevy Chase.
The conference was sponsored by the D.C. Congress of Parents and Teachers.
There are currently about 94,300 students in the D.C. public schools, but enrollment has been dropping by 5,000 to 6,000 students each year for the past three years. Also, she said, officials already anticipate a $40 million deficit for the 1982-83 school year, which makes some school closings a virtual necessity, McKenzie said.
The last large-scale closing of schools occurred in 1978 when nearly a dozen buildings were shut down entirely or in part.
McKenzie said yesterday that no specific schools have been targeted for the next round of closings, which must be approved by the Board of Education, but noted that some junior high schools now have fewer than 500 students, an unacceptably small number.
McKenzie said later that her staff is studying a proposal by school board President Eugene Kinlow to close all of the city's 27 junior high schools, which run from grades seven through nine. The proposal calls for elementary schools to run from kindergarten to eighth grade and for high schools to go from grades nine through 12.
Kinlow's plan leaves room for some "middle schools" that would have a combination of grades, like three, four and five, or six, seven and eight.
The issue of school closings is a politically sensitive one for the board, especially since many of the smallest schools -- though not necessarily ones with declining enrollment -- are also the highest achieving schools located in the largely white, affluent area west of Rock Creek Park.
McKenzie told the parents that she wants them to help her draw up a plan for the systematic closing of schools.
School board member R. Calvin Lockridge, chairman of the board's finance committee, said there are four junior high schools in the city -- Terrell and Garnett-Patterson in Northwest, Evans on East Capitol and Hine in Southeast -- that have projected 1981 enrollments of less than 500. He said there are 14 elementary schools with fewer than 200 students.