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DPS reviewing gentrification, how to keep students in public schools

DENVER -- As the population continues to boom in Denver and home prices skyrocket, some neighborhoods are losing public school students.

Denver Public Schools has started an initiative to review the rapid gentrification and increase racial and economic integration in its schools.

The 42-person committee is the Strengthening Neighborhoods Initiative.

“These are the conversations that we need to have,” said Diana Romero Campbell, a member of the committee. "It is really tough. It isn’t easy work, but these are the questions that we need to be asking.”

The committee, along with DPS, is using facts to study how gentrification is impacting schools.

DPS’ 2017 neighborhood update study shows five areas where the number of students who attend a public school has declined from 2010 to 2015.

The Highland neighborhood is down 21 percent, Marston is down 14 percent, Lincoln Park is down 13 percent, Jefferson Park is down 12 percent and Sunnyside is down 6 percent.

The initiative is also looking at data that include demographic shifts in neighborhoods.

From 2010 to 2015, African-American residents decreased in the Park Hill neighborhood by 13 percent and in Whittier by 16 percent.

The Hispanic resident population dropped in the Baker neighborhood by 16 percent and in Globeville by 19 percent.

“How do we as a broader community, what is our role in being able to support the success of children and families?” Romero Campbell said.

The committee will spend the next six months studying the facts, and then suggest ways to increase racial and economic integration into DPS schools.