School & District Management News in Brief

School Closures Drawing Nearer for Puerto Rico

By Andrew Ujifusa — July 17, 2018 1 min read

Hurricane Maria severely disrupted Puerto Rico’s public schools when it hit last September. Now, the island’s education system is poised to undergo a controversial transition.

In response to the storm, as well as to falling enrollment and the government’s long-term financial woes, the Puerto Rico Department of Education plans to close nearly 25 percent of its public schools before the 2018-19 school year begins. Under the plan, 263 schools will close and 847 schools will remain open.

Across the island, 270 schools are being tapped to take in students from those schools that are slated to close. The average driving distance between the closing and receiving schools is 2.33 miles. Most of the driving distances between students’ old and new schools would be less than five miles, but these new routes to school could still be a big change for some children and parents.

Critics Fear Disruption

Government leaders say consolidating schools is a necessary step to reorganize and improve the U.S. territory’s K-12 system, but critics—including the leaders of the island’s teachers’ unions—say the closures will drive away families and teachers, as well as upend communities.

Younger students could be hit particularly hard: Among the schools scheduled for closure, at least 85 percent include the K-5 grades. These closures are subject to a legal battle currently taking place in the island’s courts.

Puerto Rico Secretary of Education Julia Keleher said many schools educate far fewer students than they have room for—nearly 500 schools had a utilization rate of less than 60 percent, she pointed out.

Consolidating schools will help Puerto Rico “guarantee access to books and teachers and resources in a positive, inviting learning environment,” Keleher said.

Enrollment on the island has been dropping for some time; last summer, the island shut down roughly 180 public schools.

Maya Riser-Kositsky contributed to this story.
A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2018 edition of Education Week as School Closures Drawing Nearer for Puerto Rico

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Districts Are Centering Relationships and Systemic SEL for Back to School 21-22
As educators and leaders consider how SEL fits into their reopening and back-to-school plans, it must go beyond an SEL curriculum. SEL is part of who we are as educators and students, as well as
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion The Year of Scourges: How I Survived Illness and Racism to Find My 'Tribe'
A Black school leader reflects on the hardest year of her professional life.
Reba Y. Hodge
4 min read
new growth on a bare tree
Vanessa Solis/Education Week & Getty Images
School & District Management From Our Research Center How the Pandemic Is Shaping K-12 Education (in Charts)
Surveys by the EdWeek Research Center show how schools have changed during the pandemic and what adjustments are likely to stick.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School on Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School in Rye, N.Y., last fall.
Mary Altaffer/AP
School & District Management Opinion Ed. Leaders: Discuss Race, Call Out White Supremacy
Downplaying the realities of racism leads to misunderstanding school problems and developing inadequate solutions.
John B. Diamond & Jennifer Cheatham
5 min read
Hand writing the word racism on blackboard. Stop hate. Against prejudice and violence. Lecture about discrimination in school.
Tero Vesalainen/iStock/Getty
School & District Management 'You Can’t Follow CDC Guidelines': What Schools Really Look Like During COVID-19
All year, some teachers have said that enforcing precautions to slow the spread of the virus in classrooms can be nearly impossible.
13 min read
Guntown Middle School eighth graders walk the halls to their next class as others wait in their assigned spots against the wall before moving into their next class during the first day back to school for the Lee County District in Guntown, Miss on Aug. 6, 2020.
Eight graders walk the halls on the first day back to school in Guntown, Miss., on Aug. 6, 2020. Teachers in several states told Education Week that since the beginning of the school year, enforcing precautions such as social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus has been nearly impossible.<br/>
Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP