Mon09012014

News

Closure painful but necessary

We urge parents to focus on the big picture. This district has closed schools before, including Covington in 1980, which just reopened this year. One parent who experienced the Covington School closing noted parents' anguish over their school closing, was all but forgotten the following school year when students and their parents adjusted to the new facility.

As we did in a prior editorial, we remind parents that those families at the school chosen for closure are not being booted out of the school district. Their children will still enjoy the high quality education that comes from attending a school ranked in a district among the top K-8 districts in the state.

That said, the district board faces a tough decision, with the sobering reality of current and long-range funding staring them collectively in the face.

With state funding for schools slashed to accommodate a $35 billion state budget deficit, the board must close a school to make ends meet. Members don't want to - they have to.

One could blame the board and the district for shortsightedness when officials used $15 million of 1998's Measure H bond money to reopen Covington first. Why didn't the district renovate the existing schools first? A number of factors speak to this, but as they say, "Hindsight is 20-20."

So which school should be closed? We're tempted to say Covington, because the newly renovated campus would likely draw the greatest rental income.

However, Covington is too big a campus not to use as a school site. With the possibility of a second school closure due to lack of state funding, the district faces the daunting prospect of fitting 3,000 students into five schools - 600 for each school.

Loyola is close to Covington, but the school has 20 classrooms, currently housing 539 students, and will be needed. Bullis-Purissima has the fewest classrooms, eight, fewest students, 340, and is relatively close to Covington. It appears the best choice logistically.

This is an emotional issue for Bullis families, but the additional commute and community asset issues are not enough to preclude Bullis as probably the best option for closure. Again, parents should be reminded that the good education continues, even when the buildings close.

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