District unveils plan for students and staff of closed Oceanside elementary school
The Oceanside Unified School District Board of Education presented the future plans for Reynolds Elementary students and staff in a meeting Thursday evening.
Unstable soil underneath the school led to the decision to close Reynolds at the end of this school year.
Students and staff will be filtered into three schools: Libby, Del Rio and Foussat Elementary.
"We're gonna be merging a large portion of the current Reynolds area with the Libby. This does not interrupt Libby at all. The upper portion that has about 63 students, will merge with the Del Rio area. That does keep those students within the 2 miles walking distance of Del Rio," said Andrea Norman, the associate superintendent of business services with the Oceanside Unified School District.
The window for parents to choose a different school in the district will be extended for Reynolds families until April 21.
Plans for staff will depend on those selections.
Students and staff in the bilingual immersion program will be kept together and transferred to Foussat Elementary School.
Parents raised transportation concerns during the public comments.
"From our home on Big Sur Street to Libby, it is a 29-minute walk — 29 minutes. That's a lot to ask of a young child to walk by themselves to and from school," Kathy Wheeler said. "Asking all these kids to walk up big hills and down big bills, across busy streets, and offering no transportation is absolutely devastating. Please, please, look into transportation."
"Some households only have one car. ... If their children have to walk far to these new sites, what is the district planning to do for these non-IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) students?" another parent asked during the meeting.
"I really need transportation to wherever he's going to be moved to. All the meetings I've been present, they have told me there's no transportation and that it won't be available either," Concepcion Lopez said with the help of an interpreter.
According to Oceanside Unified, the budget for transportation is $5.7 million and the district currently transfers fewer than 300 students at that cost.
Board Clerk Mike Blessing said the transportation budget would not likely be extended soon. "I don't have the answer for transportation for you. I'm going to ask you to stick with this as you select a school that makes sense for you, and we'll see what we can come up with. I cannot promise that to you at all come August. It's just not feasible for us to do that. If we can get something going at the state level, there’s maybe hope there," Blessing said.
The district will explore creative transportation options with the support of parents and city buses.