Some Vallejo schools in jeopardy of closing

October 8, 2009 6:59:42 PM PDT
Vallejo schools are the latest casualty of the weak economy and the state's budget problems. The district will be forced to close some schools to balance its budget.

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Students at Hogan High School don't know if they'll be coming back here for the next school year because it could be shut down.

The Vallejo School District says school closures are the only way it can balance its budget.

Mary Edens' twins will have to move for their senior year if the school closes.

"I would hate to have to see them leave here their senior year, they love this school," said said.

The district says declining enrollment is the primary problem. Since 2000, enrollment is down by 20 percent or 4,000 students from 19,500, to 15,500.

State funding formulas mean for every student lost, a $5,000 loss that translates to $20 million less in state funding since 2000.

The city has its own budget challenges.

"A bad economy, there are a lot of people out of work. People are leaving the city, others coming in, birth rate is down in Vallejo," said District spokesman Jason Hodge.

Hodge says the school board will make a decision in mid-November.

"There are no done deals. We want parents to know no decisions have been made on any schools," he said.

Hodge says the district needs to save $1.5 million through closures. Teacher's jobs will be saved, but not administrators and other staff. He says class size will be stable, but teachers aren't convinced.

Karen Hollister is a kindergarten teacher in the district -- at the same school where she was a kindergartner in the late 60's.

"I don't know what's going to turn the economy around but I think our children are the ones that are suffering for it," said Hollister.

"I think the state should be doing something different. I don't get it I don't understand. They say education is the key and yet it seems to me that's what they're cutting the most," said Edens.

The district will hold two public forums to let the community weigh-in before the closure decisions are made.

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