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Local: Education

Parents mean war over Northwest elementary school

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Local,Education,Lisa Gartner

If Garrison Elementary had gun turrets, they would have been crowded Tuesday afternoon.

Parents at the U Street Corridor campus, learning that Garrison was among the 20 schools targeted for closure by DC Public Schools, pledged to fight back with the same energy they said they have been investing in the school.

"I'm just not giving up without a fight," said Ann McLeod, the parent of a first-grader and the school's PTA president.

With 228 students, Garrison is underenrolled and using 64 percent of its building. Under the DCPS proposal, Garrison students would be absorbed by Seaton Elementary School, a few blocks east of Logan Circle.

Melissa Salmanowitz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Kaya Henderson, said DCPS wanted to close Garrison rather than Seaton, also underenrolled, because Seaton's building had been renovated and could hold more students.

But parents at Garrison pointed out that the school had received a new principal this year. They had received $1 million to improve the building and its grounds. Math scores had jumped on standardized tests.

Most of all, parents said they had been gathering momentum, forming community associations, holding panels and investing themselves by enrolling their children at the school.

"It just doesn't make any sense to me because this is the kind of school DCPS should be investing in, a school people have committed to and are rallying support for," said Dima Reda, the mother of a prekindergarten student.

Along with parents, Jack Jacobson, who was elected to represent Ward 2 on the D.C. school board, said he will testify at a D.C. Council hearing Thursday.

"I'm telling you, the Logan Circle and U Street communities are going to fight tooth and nail to keep Garrison open, and I'll be standing right there with them," Jacobson said. - Lisa Gartner

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