Protest outside DC Mayor's home over proposed school closures - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Protest held outside DC Mayor's home over proposed school closures

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Scores of D.C. residents and nearly a dozen school children staged a boisterous candlelight march outside the Branch Avenue, SE home of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray Tuesday night. They are upset over a proposal to close as many as 20 D.C. public schools.

"A lot of people don't have transportation to get these kids back and forth to school," said parent Shannon Smith. "So that's what you all are trying to do: push us out for what? What are the kids going to do? It's not us that are suffering it's our children. That's our future."

They are also upset many of the proposed closings are in Wards 7 and 8 on the east side of the Anacostia River.

"And we're just saying in Ward 8, enough is enough," says Trayon White, the elected representative from Ward 8 on the D.C. State Board of Education. "We have to start standing together and not giving our children less, but giving our children more."

DCPS officials say they are targeting schools that are under enrolled and not fiscally efficient.

In a statement to FOX 5 News, DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson writes: "As you'll see when we release our final consolidation plan ... and through the upcoming school budgeting process ... DCPS will reinvest funds from consolidated schools to improve programming and equity across the district. The goal is to use funds and resources in a more efficient and strategic way in our schools."

Organizers of Tuesday night's rally say they plan to demonstrate outside Henderson's home Thursday night, and again at the school board's meeting on Friday when the cuts are scheduled to be announced.

Mayor Gray was not home during that demonstration in front of his house and his office says Gray was not available to talk to FOX 5 about this issue.

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