The Window Rock School District, in the heart of the Navajo nation in Arizona, is proposing the unthinkable: closing three of its seven schools as a result of the federal sequester.
The schools are among 1,600 public schools on Native American reservations and military bases that are feeling the impact of federal cuts now, months before the rest of the country’s classrooms see the effect of reduced dollars from Washington.
“We may have to close those schools — we don’t have any other avenues at all,” Superintendent Debbie Jackson-Dennison said, adding that she will cut five administrators, 25 support staff and 35 certified teachers by the end of May.
School bus routes, vital in a large rural setting, will be reduced beginning this month, guaranteeing some children will ride an hour to and from school. The school closures are expected by Aug. 1, creating overcrowding in remaining schools, she said.