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Detroit to close schools in effort to trim costs

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit officials plan to close 16 public schools, many of them elementary schools, to reduce a $100 million budget deficit.

The schools will not be closed until district officials hear reaction from parents during a series of town hall meetings, schools chief executive Kenneth Burnley said Wednesday.

The plan would save the district $5 million this year and affect about 6,400 students. Burnley declined to discuss job cuts.

While some parents may be upset that their children will have to attend a different school, keeping small and underutilized buildings open is not feasible, Burnley said.

Enrollment in city schools has declined from 175,168 in 1996 to 164,496 in 2002. It's expected to fall by at least 3,200 for the next school year, Burnley said. More school closings may be necessary if enrollment continues declining, he added.