One-fourth of the elementary and secondary schools in Minneapolis will be closed and the school district reorganized as part of a plan to condense the system, officials said yesterday.
The shutdown of 17 schools, approved Monday by a unanimous vote of the city school board, is the largest closure of schools in Minneapolis history. In 1942, 14 schools were closed when enrollment declined.
Eleven of the 17 schools are to be sold for parks and housing. Six schools are to be retained by the district, most as "human resource centers," and could be pressed back into service if enrollment increased.
The changes will "test the will of Minneapolis," said Superintendent Richard Green in acknowledging the anger of parents and students over the closings.
Green said the message from parents had been to "close schools and invest in programs." However, Merrill Anderson, co-chairman of Save Our Schools, an organization of parents opposed to the closings, said he did not believe the action would mean more money for school programs.
Anderson contended the school board would use the savings "to cover a $98.6 million deficit" over the next five years.
The closures will mean increased busing for perhaps 8,000 more students. There are 39,065 students in Minneapolis's 79 elementary and secondary schools, 7,823 of them in the 17 schools to be closed.