America has too many public schools.

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LOS ANGELES—In a huge city awash with tiny schools, few are smaller than the Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy.

The public high school, housed in a former hospital in East Los Angeles, is down to 170 students from the surrounding Latino neighborhoods. On a hallway bulletin board, handwritten hearts display reasons students love the school, including, “how everyone knows each other” and “the fact that school is small.”

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The school’s size, beloved by many families, will also be its demise. Los Angeles Unified School District is closing Solis this summer, citing declining enrollment that has severely limited the school’s offerings. Students can take the basic classes needed to graduate but have few options for electives or advanced coursework. The only after-school activities are weightlifting and a Bible club.

“I know financially the district can’t afford this, I see how much our enrollment has dropped,” math teacher Melina Gutierrez said, tears welling in her eyes on a recent day as she looked around her longtime classroom. “But the small school is a great thing for kids.”

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