Potential school closures in Redwood City alarm families

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Frustrated students, parents and teachers filled up the Fox Theatre in Redwood City Wednesday night over proposed school closures and mergers.

Jorge Quintana, the spokesperson for the Redwood City School District, explained the closures and mergers as follows:

  • Orion Elementary School would close and students and teachers would merge with John Gill Elementary School

  • Adelante Spanish Immersion School would close and merge with Selby Lane Elementary School, which is a K-8 Spanish immersion school

The 4 Bayside Schools would consolidate:
  • Fair Oaks Elementary School would close

  • Taft Elementary School would close for two years

  • Hoover elementary and Garfield stay open

  • Hawes Elementary School closes and students disperse to Roosevelt School and other schools in the District

If the Redwood City School District Office closes the district would rent the building since it's prime Downtown Redwood City real estate. The District Office would move to one of the closed school campuses.

The Redwood City School District is facing a deficit of $10 million for the next three years. Quintana says a financial analyst advised that "the school district can not sustain 16 schools with 7,500 students, especially those schools with
an enrollment of 400 or less students."

Quintana says the school is losing attendance dollars because they are losing students. "The school district in the last six years has lost 2,000 students to three charter schools that operate within the school district as well as families who are moving outside of the Bay Area bc of the high cost of living."

Mary Jane Vallejo has been a teacher at Hawes Elementary for 17 years. She says Hawes has lost students in recent years and right now has a little more than 300 students enrolled.

But, Vallejo and parents at Hawes say the proposal to close Hawes and disperse the students and teachers to other schools in the district, will result in even more kids at the charter schools, because families won't be able to get their kids to schools farther away from home.

"They walk their kids to school and they walk right down to the bus stop, grab the bus and go to work," said Teresita Carlos, who is the President of the PTA at Hawes.

Yuribia Obeso has two kids at Hawes and says she would consider switching to a Charter because her husband, who doesn't drive, walks their kids to school.

"These charter schools are everywhere recruiting," says Obeso, who adds that Charters are providing much-needed services. "They're offering transportation, they're offering after school tutoring."

The Board of Education will decide how to balance the budget and what to do with the schools at their next meeting in two weeks.
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