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SD Unified Considers Closing Six Small Schools


Aired 4/19/09


San Diego School Superintendent Terry Grier will consider next week whether the district should close six small elementary schools. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The six schools are Barnard Elementary, Cadman, Carver, North Park, Sequoia and Crown Point.

Each campus has fewer than 400 students and a lot of empty space.

The schools were pinpointed at the request of Superintendent Grier. He's trying to plug a possible 50 million dollar state funding shortfall.

One of the schools -- Crown Point in Pacific Beach -- got a lot of fanfare this year because the district spent money turning it into a music magnet school.

The district's William Kowba says more kids enrolled, but it’s still not enough.

Kowba: It is very much underutilized. It is, in fact, drawing a small number of students from the neighborhood. But because its among the very smallest and most underutilized, it became a focal point.

Grier assembled a committee of parent and community volunteers to identify the schools. But committee members struggled with making the recommendations. They disagreed over how many schools to pinpoint in one neighborhood, how existing schools would be affected, and the new transportation routes of relocated students.

Committee chair Jim Varnadore says every member on the board doesn't want to do this.

Varnadore: In fact, I wouldn't say it, but if I got angry enough when I made my report to the superintendent, I would say, 'As far as chairing this committee, you can take this job and shove it. We really don't want to do this.'

Grier asked the committee for 10 recommendations. But the panel settled on six.

Grier will introduce the recommendations at budget workshops next week.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.      


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