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SD Unified Shelves Plan to Close Eight Schools

— A plan to close eight schools in the San Diego Unified School District was shelved today. The board told staff the best way to handle school closures and consolidations was to instead look at schools on a case-by-case basis, making strategic changes over time.

Aired 7/10/12 on KPBS News.

A plan to close eight schools in the San Diego Unified school district was shelved today.

Teachers, parents and students protesting education funding cuts and teacher layoffs lined up along Park Boulevard outside Roosevelt Middle School and cheered as passing cars honked their support for the protesters May 1, 2012.
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Above: Teachers, parents and students protesting education funding cuts and teacher layoffs lined up along Park Boulevard outside Roosevelt Middle School and cheered as passing cars honked their support for the protesters May 1, 2012.

“They would prefer for us to look at a process of identifying specific situations where it would be good for the students, academically from a facilities perspective to consolidate schools," said Deputy Superintendant Phil Stover. "Not to look at a simple target of eight schools for the purpose of saving money.”

It was previously determined that closing or consolidating eight schools for the 2013-14 academic year could save close to $4 million. But the process, which was met with much resistance last fall from parents and teachers, can be disruptive to students, according to Stover.

Previous criteria used to determine school closures and consolidations included test scores, enrollment and program capacity. But according to Stover, these criteria will not be looked at in the same way with the new strategy.

“It wouldn’t be for the specific purpose of saying, 'well this school is under capacity, or has low enrollment,'" said Stover. "We will look at it more from the perspective of if it makes sense given proximity or complementary programs and then make a recommendation.”

In 2009 the district considered closing nine schools, but ended up only closing one. And last year the district was prepared to close or consolidate 10 schools, but ended up closing only a few campuses where the students would benefit from better facilities or programs.

The realignment committee plans to continue monthly discussions on potential closures or consolidations and any plans will be voted on early next year.

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