The Cupertino Union School District Board of Education Thursday night plans to propose a list of elementary and middle schools to consolidate and close permanently – a list that could include Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos.

The meeting is scheduled 6:30 p.m. at Collins Elementary School, 10300 N. Blaney Ave. in Cupertino, as well as via Zoom.

CUSD faces declining financial and enrollment trends. After voters rejected a parcel tax in May, district officials put all options on the table.

According to an online slideshow released by CUSD, the district’s smaller schools are more likely to be considered for closure. Factors that CUSD is considering for their definition of “school size” include content and grade-level collaboration, the number of extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs and core academic course options.

The selection of schools on the chopping block also will undergo a ranking process set by CUSD. With input from the board, the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) and public comment, the district developed and ranked by level of importance 10 criteria to determine which schools to close.

The No. 1 criterion board members will consider is whether neighboring schools have the capacity to accommodate a shuttered school’s student population. The least important criterion is whether there is traffic congestion near a school and if an increase in enrollment will perpetuate the problem.

The CAC recommended six scenarios to the board, each one with consolidation and/or closure plans for applicable schools. When considering scenarios, the CAC also devised a criteria-ranking system in which it took into account 11 factors; fairness, equity and impact on the community is ranked the highest, while high school feeder patterns is ranked the lowest.

Once a school is selected for closure, two scenarios the CAC recommended to the board include transitioning a separate school open school to a magnet school. This would shift students from closing schools to the magnet school who wish to attend. Currently, Montclaire is being considered as one of these magnet schools for students.

Families impacted by the school closures will have options. For example, families with children attending schools split among multiple sites may choose which campus to join as long as free choice does not unduly affect enrollment balance. Lotteries may be required to preserve enrollment balance.

Displaced families also will have the option of preferential placement for open enrollment to any school in the district, including all alternative schools. Alternative schools are exempt from school closure consideration.

The options, however, will apply only to families enrolled in the affected schools for the 2021-2022 school year or before. First-time families will be subject to standard enrollment practices.

By

Staff Writer

Angela Tam covers local schools as the Town Crier's education reporter.