Salt Lake City School District recommends four elementary school closures

Nov 20, 2023, 10:34 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2023, 6:39 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Four elementary schools in Salt Lake City could soon be closing for good.

After months of studying major drops in enrollment, the school district gave its list to the school board on Monday night.

Out of the seven elementary schools the district studied, they recommended four be closed: Hawthorne Elementary, M. Lynn Bennion Elementary, Mary W. Jackson Elementary and Riley Elementary.

The changes could ripple throughout the district. The district looked at things like current enrollment numbers, future enrollment, walkability and specialized programs like dual immersions and special education. Before they made the announcement they took 30 minutes of public comment, which was spirited.

Olivia is a student at Newman Elementary.

“I wanted to speak tonight to ask you not to close my school. This year I’m part of the 4th/5th split, I get to learn from a group of teachers and they’ve all been amazing,” she said.

Students, parents voiced their opinions

The district listened to dozens of students and parents but in the end, four schools were recommended for closure.

They say enrollment in the district is down 30% since 2014 and Utah is expected to lose another 40,000 students in the next 10 years. Right now, there are just over 9,300 elementary school students in the district.

Along with the recommendations, there will be 14 schools that see boundary changes, which will potentially impact thousands of families.

Dr. Elizabeth Grant, superintendent for Salt Lake City School District, said she’s proud of the hard work and tough decisions her team is making.

“We’re going to be the flagship district in this state,” Grant told KSL TV. “And we’re going to lead in measures of student growth but particularly in opportunity for our students in equity and accomplishment.”

There are all kinds of programs impacted with these changes, like dual immersion, gifted and talented, and others.

There are a couple of key dates to remember. There will be a public hearing at West High School on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone who wishes to have their voice heard will be heard. The board will then vote on Jan. 9, 2024.

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Salt Lake City School District recommends four elementary school closures