Parents, teachers raise concerns about proposal to close several Detroit public schools

Several schools slated for sale, closure in 20-year master plan

Parents and teachers are voicing their concerns about a proposal to close several Detroit schools.

DETROIT – The Detroit Public Schools Community District intends to spend $700 million to rebuild and repair schools throughout the district. Also in the district’s 20-year master plan is a proposed list of school closures.

The proposed closures are being met with resistance from the community. Concerned parents came out to a school board meeting on Monday (March 7) night and spoke out about the closures despite being told the topic wasn’t up for discussion at that meeting.

Residents and teachers want answers from the district. They want to know how students from the schools up for closure fit into the district’s master plan. The people Local 4 spoke with said they feel there’s been a lot of secrecy and not enough clarity.

Read: Detroit schools superintendent addresses skepticism of $700M plan to update schools

“It hasn’t been very positive, it’s been kinda bleak. You know, they’re talking about phasing it out,” Sheila Allen-Frazier said. “It’s heartbreaking to see a school close because when a school closes the community dies.”

Allen-Frazier works at Sampson Webber school, one of the schools on the list for closure.

Velma and Tony Rucker sent their kids and grandkids to the schools across the street. They’ve been looking at the old shuttered Biddle school building for years.

“And even if they tear it down, it’s still like a big gaping hole that doesn’t add anything to the community,” Velma Rucker said.

Nicole Conaway is a teacher at Communication and Media Arts High School.

“A lot of this is about the property and land grabs and we’re not taking it,” Conaway said.

Conaway has organized against closures in the district before and she said she is prepared to do it again.

A spokesperson for the district said the plan is not final and that they are conducting community engagement sessions to get feedback. The next community session is set for March 14.

“We are currently conducting community engagement sessions on a proposed 20-year facility master plan. The plan is not final and will need to be approved by the board. The community can review and provide feedback on the plan by visiting The next community engagement session is March 14,” DPSCD spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said.

Read: More education coverage

Click here to learn more about the master plan.

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.