DODDS-Europe may close as many as 15 schools after this year
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Troop drawdowns could close as many as 15 Defense Department schools in Europe at the end of this school year, the schools system’s top administrator said.
But school system officials are reluctant to release a full list of which schools might close their doors.
“It hasn’t been officially announced, and it hasn’t been officially made,” said Dennis Bohannon, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe spokesman. “It would all be speculation at this point.”
Diana Ohman, the DODDS-Europe director, first mentioned the possible closures on an American Forces Network radio call-in show on Wednesday.
A listener had written an e-mail to the program asking why DODDS-Europe is closing some schools, including Livorno High School in southern Italy. The school, which graduated four students this past June, is closing because of low enrollment.
“In the case of Livorno, it’s the fact that it’s so small that it’s just not doable anymore,” Ohman said on the show. “And in the case of many of the other places where we’re closing schools, it has to do with the Navy is downsizing or withdrawing, or the Army is downsizing and withdrawing, and that’s causing us probably 10 to 15 closures this coming spring.”
She didn’t go into details, but hinted schools in Giessen, Hanau and Würzburg in Germany and Fairford in the United Kingdom would likely see schools closing.
The U.S. military is in the process of moving thousands of soldiers from Europe to bases in the United States as part of its transformation. DODDS would provide schooling in some form for servicemember’s children until the military completely leaves an area, Ohman said.
In the Giessen and Hanau areas, for example, she said, “until the Army leaves completely, there will be something.”
Schools close or merge with nearby schools based on military troop and command changes in the region, Bohannon said. School closures are typically announced after the military has released decisions on command changes or moves.
Some of the schools looking to close after this school year are:
Giessen Middle and High school.Giessen Elementary School.Butzbach Elementary School.London Central elementary and high school.Volkel Elementary School in the Netherlands.La Maddalena Elementary and Middle School.Livorno High School.Defense Department schools will try to reassign teachers affected by the closures to other schools with vacancies.
“We will try and place them at the location of their choice,” Bohannon said, if there is an opening at the school they want to work at.