Parents and students rally over possible elementary school closure in Oceanside
Reynolds Elementary school parents and students rallied outside of the Oceanside Unified School district on Friday, protesting recent news that their school could close.
338 students missed school for the rally.
This isn’t the first time the community has fought to save Reynolds. It was slated for closure and consolidation in 2021, but after community protests the district decided to renovate instead.
The renovation process includes soil testing, which the district says revealed soil liquefaction on the property.
"Soil liquefaction is a loss of ground strength that causes the soil to temporarily behave like a liquid. During an earthquake this could cause buildings to sink and incur other damages," the district told parents earlier this month in a message posted to the school's website.
As a result of the findings, the district is recommending the Board of Education close Reynolds Elementary and move its 554 students to nearby campuses.
"I think they’re making a rash, knee jerk reaction to a soil report that we haven't even seen. There’s no transparency in what they’re doing," said Nick Thomas, a Reynolds Elementary School parent.
"The superintendent, Dr. Vitale, wanted to close our school down years ago," said Ashley Gerdo, another Oceanside parent at the rally. "The property is worth more to them if they were to close it, than to invest in it. There has been no transparency, no second opinion."
"I'm here for the parents that can't be here, they work early. They have kids that have to walk to the school. The district isn't going to provide transportation if they have to go to a different school," said Anel Canseco, a mom with kids attending Reynolds Elementary School.
In its online message, the district said measures have been proposed to help mitigate the liquefaction, but none guarantee the safety of the students and 51 staff members.
"We understand the disappointment that our Reynolds families are feeling. The safety of our students and staff is paramount both for those attending now and in the future. Our recommendation to the Board of Education will be based on data provided to us by subject matter experts who are following the required procedures for school construction projects," the school district said in a statement following the rally.
A special board meeting will be held Monday evening to discuss the future of Reynolds.