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Which Broward schools may be at risk of closing? Enrollment numbers may provide answers

Broward Public Schools superintendent Peter Licata told School Board members this week that he believes they need to close or repurpose a lot more schools than initially considered.

The board had originally tasked him last year with creating a plan to close or repurpose at least five schools in the 2025-2026 school year. That’s just not enough, he said.

“We have a lot of schools that probably need to be closed or repurposed and so forth and so on,” he said. “And I don’t want to die a thousand deaths. I believe in my heart as a leader that if we were to piecemeal this, we would be our own worst enemy, and we would not be transparent. We can’t just nickle and dime. We got to either do something or don’t.”

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School district officials believe change is necessary because of a critical decline in student enrollment in the past years. The district has lost about 58,000 students in the last 20 years, falling from 259,130 in 2004 to 201,273 in 2024 — a trend that’s expected to continue. And the loss of students has translated to a loss of millions of dollars every year.

“If you ask superintendents around the country, it’s something they never want to do. It’s incredibly challenging,” Licata told the Herald in early February about the work.

Closing schools is complicated, he said, because families get emotionally attached after multiple members attend the same ones over time. Similarly, schools become central to their communities. Closing schools can also mean redrawing school district boundaries and shifting children’s assigned schools.

Which schools are at risk of closing or repurposing?

Technically at the moment, all 239 Broward public schools could be at risk of closing, repurposing or combining.

That’s because school district officials haven’t yet released a narrowed-down list of schools they’re considering to impact.

In early February, Licata said that he wouldn’t release a list yet because wanted to keep an open mind until the district held three town hall-style events to let the public weigh in. The district held those events on Feb. 8 at Fort Lauderdale High School, another at J.P. Taravella High in Coral Springs on Feb. 15 and the last at Charles W. Flanagan High in Pembroke Pines on Feb. 22. In total, about 650 people attended in person or online.

On Friday, Feb. 23, a day after the last of those events, Licata told the Herald he expects to present a list of schools that could be impacted to the School Board during its upcoming March 20 workshop. He also said he doesn’t expect to close any high schools “right now.”

In the meantime, school district officials have shared a list of the most underenrolled schools, those operating at 70% or less of their full capacity. And because the issue is related to underenrollment, these schools could face a serious risk of getting closed, combined or repurposed.

Where are Broward’s most underenrolled schools?

The Herald evaluated that list of 67 underenrolled schools and determined that out of the those, nine received an A during the last state-issued grades, 10 got a B, 51 got a C, five received a D and one got an F. Of the 67 schools considered underenrolled, 45 are elementary schools, 17 are middle schools and five are high schools.

Here’s a look at how many schools are underenrolled in each district:

District 1, the southeast part of the county with cities like Hollywood, south Dania Beach, and Hallandale Beach:

  • Eight out of 20 or 40% of elementary schools

  • Four out of 5 or 80% of middle schools

  • One out of 4 or 25% of high schools

District 2, the southwest part of Broward spanning across Miramar, Pembroke Pines and south of Davie:

  • 13 out of 17 or 76.5% of elementary schools

  • Four out of five or 80% of middle schools

  • None of the four high schools

District 3, the eastern middle part of Broward with Fort Lauderdale, north Dania Beach and Oakland Park:

  • Four out of 17 or 23.5% of elementary schools

  • One out of three or 33.3% of middle schools

  • Two out of four or 50% of high schools

District 4, the northwest part of Broward with cities like Parkland, Coral Springs, Margate and Tamarac:

  • Six out of 21 or 28.6% of elementary schools

  • Two out of six or 33.3% of middle schools

  • None of the four high schools are underenrolled

District 5, the middle of the county with Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, north Plantation and east Sunrise:

  • Eight out of 23 or 34.8% of elementary schools

  • Five out of six or 83.3% middle schools

  • One out of three or 33.3% of high schools

District 6, the mid-western side of Broward with Weston, Cooper City, Davie, and south Plantation and Sunrise:

  • No schools are underenrolled. There are 21 elementary schools, six middle schools and seven high schools in this district.

District 7, the northeastern side of Broward with cities like Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek and Pompano Beach:

  • Six out of 19 or 31.6% of elementary schools

  • One out of five or 20% of middle schools

  • One out of seven or 14.3% of high schools

Search here to see if your school is on the list of under enrolled schools

Here’s a searchable database with the most under-enrolled schools:

What does the timeline for the potential school closures look like?

The School Board will hold workshops on March 20 and May 14 to discuss the topic. Both meetings are open to the public. Then the board will meet again sometime in June to make decisions.

The superintendent said the boundary changes could start happening in the 2024-25 school year. Then the school closings or repurposings will take place in the 2025-26 school year.