Vallejo Unified school board delays closure vote

December 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There is confusion in Vallejo where the school district voted to close two schools, but a short time later, the school board members suddenly changed their mind.

It was an emotional rollercoaster and in the end, nothing was accomplished, because at the last moment, the board voted to rescind all of the decisions it made Wednesday night.

Facing a $9 million budget deficit, the board voted to Springstowne and Vallejo middle schools, but it also voted to keep Cave Elementary and Hogan High School open. The night was filled with passionate pleas and moments of celebration.

"Hey, we're in trouble. Help get us out of this trouble, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Villanueva. Please help us get us out of this trouble, we are equal," said one speaker.

"Because of that, my vote will be no closure to all schools in Vallejo," said Vallejo school board president Oggee Villanueva.

"In the January meeting, with more information, they will get together and we will be able to make a decision that is in the best interest of the district," said Vallejo school board member Hazel Wilson. When asked if she felt the school board was fully informed enough to make an educated decision she replied, "Apparently not because the entire board did not feel they were ready."

On top of the school crisis the City of Vallejo is in an economic tailspin. The city government is bankrupt, six police officers received layoff notices Tuesday, and 16 members of the command staff will be demoted -- saving the city about $2 million.

Three fire stations have also closed and officials say there will be more public safety layoffs in a matter of months.

So again, the Vallejo School Board decided not to make any decisions on the school closures until the January 13, 2010 meeting.

The district says since 2000 enrollment has dropped by 4,000 students, or about 20 percent of the entire student body population, and that has meant about $20 million less funding for Vallejo Unified.


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