2 Mt. Diablo schools voted to be closed in Concord

2 Mt. Diablo schools voted to be closed in Concord

February 9, 2011 12:25:25 AM PST
Late Tuesday night in the East Bay there was a final decision to shut down two schools in the Mt. Diablo School District.

The board voted 3-2 to close Glenbrook Middle School and Holbrook Elementary School in Concord. At Glenbrook 526 students will be displaced next year and at Holbrook 397 students will be displaced.

There was an intense rivalry between all seven of the schools on the chopping block, as they literally fought for their survival.

Many students and parents showed up in school colors to try to show the school board their school needed to be saved over the others and they underscored the desperation between schools.

Parent Tracy Jin recalled before the board an encounter with another parent, "She pointed at my shirt and she said, 'You're going down. We are taking you down.' How sad is that? I hope that the families in the Mt. Diablo district can work together and not let the budget crisis tear up our community."

Facing declining enrollment now and in the future, plus state budget cuts, the district reluctantly insists it must close at least three schools.

"And when we do this, it's for keeps. We're not going to likely reopen the schools any time in the near future. So we want to make sure that we do it once and we want to make sure that we do it right," said Mt. Diablo Unified Board President Gary Eberhart.

"I cannot in good conscious vote to support closing any of the elementary or middle schools for the 2010-2011 school year," said Mt. Diablo School Board Member Cheryl Hansen.

"What we're asked to do in this forum is very, very difficult. There aren't any other conversations, this is it," said Mt. Diablo School Board Member Lynn Dennler.

"I know a lot of the 6th and 7th graders and they walk to school each and every day and their parents cannot afford to give them a ride or get on the bus. It's going to be really, really hard? really hard," said Glenbrook Middle School student Alia Cortez.

Closing the two schools will save the district up to $2 million. There is good news for three schools that were taken off the possible closure list. They are: Monte Gardens in Concord, Sequoia Middle School and Sequoia Elementary School in Pleasant Hill. Bad news still looms. The district says they are going to close either Silverwood Elementary or Westwood Elementary in Concord.