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Side-by-side comparison of Mt. Diablo schools recommended for closure

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 at 2:16 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

Silverwood Elementary parents and students rally Jan. 14 to save their school from closure.

Silverwood Elementary parents and students rally Jan. 14 to save their school from closure.

By Theresa Harrington

Hundreds of parents, students and teachers may show up at the Mt. Diablo school board’s study session tonight (Wednesday) to hear why seven campuses are being recommended for closure by an advisory committee.

“Over the last several years, a combination of budget reductions from the state, as well as declining enrollments, have affected the school district and we’re being forced to look at school closure,” trustee Linda Mayo told me today. ” The school closure will enable us to assure the district provides a balanced budget and provides services for all students.”

Although the district has promised transparency, no staff report was released with the agenda to explain the recommendations. Instead, the committee will present a Powerpoint presentation at the meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Little Theater at Northgate High School, 425 Castle Rock Road in Walnut Creek.

Hopefully, this presentation will be posted online before the meeting. But, it’s possible it won’t be available until the meeting begins.

The district has posted much of the data the committee evaluated online at: http://www.mdusd.org/Community/Pages/scac.aspx. However, this information has not yet been synthesized for the public.

To provide the public with an overview at a glance before the meeting begins, I have compared the schools recommended for closure below according to several of the criteria evaluated by the committee.

The committee rated each school in the district according to facility condition, capacity, operations and maintenance costs, available capacity at nearby sites, academic performance, geographic equity within the district and the possibility of moving students to better facilities. It also considered the cost of closure. The ratings have not yet been released to the public, but are expected to be included in tonight’s presentation.

Here are the three scenarios recommended, followed by the “pros, cons and unknowns” listed by the committee, then individual comparisons of each school. Each committee member was given four votes for scenarios, as well as four votes for individual schools.

SCENARIO 1: GLENBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL (Students would go to El Dorado, Oak Grove and Valley View middle schools);
SILVERWOOD ELEMENTARY (Students would go to Ayers, Mountain View and Highlands elementary schools);
WREN AVENUE ELEMENTARY (Students would go to El Monte, Holbrook, Monte Gardens and Westwood)
SAVINGS: $1.5 million
COMMITTEE VOTES RECEIVED: 39

PROS: Low cost, closures do not zero in on one community
CONS: Only $1.5 million in savings, elementaries serve communities, more disruptive to close a secondary school rather than elementary
UNKNOWNS: Holbrook to re-boundary to alleviate overcrowding at Meadow Homes, students west of Hwy. 242 go to Sun Terrace Elementary

SCENARIO 2: GLENBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL (Students would go to El Dorado, Oak Grove and Valley View middle schools);
SILVERWOOD ELEMENTARY (Students would go to Ayers, Mountain View and Highlands elementary schools);
HOLBROOK ELEMENTARY (Students would go to Wren Avenue, Sun Terrace, Monte Gardens and Westwood elementary schools)
SAVINGS: $1.5 million
COMMITTEE VOTES RECEIVED: 16

No pros and cons listed, since this was a hybrid of other scenarios.

SCENARIO 3: MONTE GARDENS ELEMENTARY
SEQUOIA ELEMENTARY
SEQUOIA MIDDLE SCHOOL
(All students would return to neighborhood schools)
SAVINGS: $1.6 million
COMMITTEE VOTES RECEIVED: 13 (13-10 vote to move forward)

PROS: Sequoia campuses are not “neighborhood” schools, dispersing higher scoring students to other schools, shows that schools are equal — no choice needed.
CONS: Too many classrooms and costs associated with closing, lack of choice if closed, receiving schools do not have capacity, no ongoing guarantee to transfer (exception: schools of choice and No Child Left Behind); closing schools with high API
UNKNOWNS: Don’t know where children/parents would opt to go (MDUSD school or other districts), safety needs to close campus, feasibility to close campuses

The committee didn’t mention that Silverwood is also a high API school. Some of the notes above are a bit unclear, such as “safety needs to close campus.” Hopefully, these will be fleshed out more fully in the presentation.

Here is a closer look at each campus. The state target Academic Performance Index (API) score is 800 out of 1,000.

The final staff and utilities savings may differ from these projections, since layoffs for union employees would be decided on seniority and administrators would be replaced or moved at the superintendent’s discretion. Utilities costs would likely decrease in the future, as planned solar projects are built.

Enrollment and capacity figures fluctuated from one consultant’s report to another. I used enrollment data as of Oct. 4, 2010 and 2010-11 capacity data.

For the third scenario, I am listing students’ “neighborhood” schools in addition to  “nearby sites,” since children would no longer be able to attend a districtwide “choice” school. However, many parents of students in these schools have told me they would pull their children out of the district, rather than send them to lower-performing campuses.

GLENBROOK MIDDLE SCHOOL:
Individual committee member votes: 10
Built: 1955, has air conditioning

2010 enrollment: 526
Capacity with prep period: 906 (max. 1,055)

Utilities costs: $100,071
Cost of 6.6 FTE employees: $519,285
Savings potential: $619,356

Nearby sites: capacity for 759 students (no new classrooms needed)
El Dorado: built in 1960, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 872 students with a prep period capacity of 1,194, leaving space for 322;
Oak Grove: built in 1958, has a/c; enrollment is 572 students with a prep period capacity of 805, leaving space for 145;
Valley View: built in 1963, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 735 students with a prep period capacity of 1,027, leaving space for 292 students.

API score: 660

Geographic location: 2351 Olivera Road, Concord (near intersection of Hwy. 4 and Hwy. 242, west of Riverview MS and north of all other middle schools)

Additional information: District received a three-year $1.7 million grant to “transform” Glenbrook, which is one of the lowest-achieving schools in the state. It is unclear whether the district could amend its application and collect money to reform the school by closing it.

The district has planned $3.6 million in Measure C improvements at this site, including nearly $1.3 million for solar projects, which would be partially reimbursed through dedicated California Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS).

Superintendent Steven Lawrence told the Parent Advisory Council earlier this month that Diablo Valley College might be interested in purchasing or leasing this site to use for community college classes.

A teacher and office manager asked the school closure committee to close campuses that would net the biggest savings to the district. According to a consultant’s chart, the district could save $998,670 by closing Riverview Middle School in Bay Point (however, consultants recommended against closing the only middle school in that community for reasons of geographic equity). Glenbrook was the middle school with the second-highest potential savings, according to consultants.

SILVERWOOD ELEMENTARY:
Individual committee member votes: 19
Built: 1968, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 400
Capacity with Class Size Reduction (CSR): 454 (max. 543)

Utilities costs: $103,577
Cost of 4.8 FTE employees: $357,982
Savings potential: $461,559

Nearby sites: capacity for 459 students (no new classrooms needed)
Ayers Elementary: built in 1962, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 431 students with a CSR capacity of 478, leaving space for 47;
Mountain View Elementary: built in 1964, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 407 with a CSR capacity of 658, leaving space for 251;
Highlands Elementary: built in 1964, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 629 with a CSR capacity of 790, leaving space for 161.

API score: 828

Geographic location: 1649 Claycord Ave., Concord (near Clayton Road, north of Highlands Elementary and south of Mountain View and Ayers elementary schools)

Additional information: Parents and students have held rallies to show support for the school, which they say shouldn’t be closed because of its high performance and neighborhood importance.

The district has planned $5.9 million in Measure C improvements at this site, including $857,019 for solar projects, which would be partially reimbursed through dedicated California Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBS).

WREN AVENUE ELEMENTARY:
Individual committee member votes: 17
Built: 1951, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 386
Capacity with Class Size Reduction (CSR): 562 (max. 685)

Utilities costs: $79,650
Cost of 4.8 FTE employees: $372,939
Savings potential: $452,589

Nearby sites: capacity for 343 students (need space for 43 more students or two additional classrooms)
El Monte Elementary: built in 1955, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 464 with a CSR capacity of 622, leaving space for 158;
Holbrook Elementary: built in 1955, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 397 with a CSR capacity of 490, leaving space for 93;
Monte Gardens Elementary: built in 1952, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 551 with CSR capacity of 610, leaving space for 59;
Westwood Elementary: built in 1958, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 397 with CSR capacity of 430, leaving space for 33

API score: 765

Geographic location: 3339 Wren Ave., Concord (near Farm Bureau Road, north of El Monte Elementary and south of Holbrook, Monte Gardens and Westwood elementary schools)

Additional information: Two Wren Avenue teachers urged the School Closure Advisory Committee to keep the school open, saying the campus has new facilities from the previous Measure C, including three new kindergarten rooms and two wings of new portables. One teacher also said parents and students use the canal trail to get to school, parking is convenient and the campus hosts a popular after-school program. They said they would welcome more students from other schools.

The district has planned nearly $2.6 million in 2010 Measure C improvements at the site, including $791,094 in solar projects, which would be partially funded through dedicated CREBS.

HOLBROOK ELEMENTARY:
Individual committee member votes: 10
Built: 1955, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 397
Capacity with Class Size Reduction (CSR): 490 (max. 594)

Utilities costs: $72,543
Cost of 4.8 FTE employees: $350,995
Total savings potential: $452,589

Nearby sites: capacity for 436 students (no new classrooms needed)
Wren Avenue: built in 1951, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 386 with CSR capacity of 562, leaving room for 176;
Sun Terrace Elementary: built in 1962, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 550 with CSR capacity of 718, leaving space for 168;
Monte Gardens Elementary: built in 1952, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 551 with CSR capacity of 610, leaving space for 59;
Westwood Elementary: built in 1958, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 397 with CSR capacity of 430, leaving space for 33.

API score: 777

Geographic location: 3333 Ronald Way, Concord (near Port Chicago Highway and East Olivera Road, south of Sun Terrace Elementary, north of Wren Avenue Elementary and west of of Monte Gardens and Westwood elementary schools)

Additional information: No Holbrook parents or staff members have spoken out at public meetings or held any rallies, as far as I know. However, Principal Sara Dieli sent me this response on Tuesday, when I asked whether anyone at the campus opposes the recommendation:

“Yes, our parents, staff and community members are very concerned and I expect many will be at the meeting tomorrow night. We are on several of the scenarios (including some that were not recommended), but we have a lot in our favor such as our API increase and our classroom capacity. We are hoping for the best.”

The school’s API score rose 50 points between 2009 and 2010, from 727 to 777 (far exceeding its state growth target of 5 points). It also met growth targets in all subgroups of students schoolwide (such as English language learners).

Parent faculty reps Turtle Pfeiffer and Harumi Waren also sent me this e-mail:

“Of course there is opposition to this recommendation as no one wants to see their school closed, however the ultimate decision will be made by the district, with or without our opposition. We expect that the final decision will be a logical, non-political one, made in the best interest of MDUSD students.”

The district has planned nearly $2.7 million in 2010 Measure C improvements at the site, including $791,094 in solar projects, which would be partially funded through dedicated CREBS.

MONTE GARDENS ELEMENTARY:
Individual committee member votes: 1
Built: 1952, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 551
Capacity with Class Size Reduction (CSR): 610 (max. 738)

Utilities costs: $66,381
Cost of 4.8 FTE employees: $341,534
Total savings potential: $407,915

Nearby sites: About 117 Monte Gardens students live in the school’s attendance area. The closest schools to Monte Gardens are Wren Avenue and Westwood:
Wren Avenue: built in 1951, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 386 with CSR capacity of 562, leaving room for 176;
Westwood Elementary: built in 1958, no a/c (planned as part of Measure C); enrollment is 397 with CSR capacity of 430, leaving space for 33.

In spring 2010, more than 10 students from the following school boundary areas attended Monte Gardens:
Wren Avenue: 74 (has capacity)
Sun Terrace: 45 (has capacity)
El Monte: 42 (has capacity)
Holbrook: 41 (has capacity)
Rio Vista: 33 (has capacity; enrollment is 390, CSR capacity is 538)
Westwood: 33 (has this exact capacity)
Delta View: 29 (no capacity; enrollment is 750, CSR capacity is 682)
Silverwood: 26 (has capacity)
Shore Acres: 18 (has capacity)
Mountain View: 16 (has capacity)
Highlands: 15 (has capacity)
Meadow Homes: 11 (no capacity, enrollment is 917, CSR capacity is 898)
Bel Air: 12 (has capacity)

Less than 10 students from the following school boundaries attended Monte Gardens in spring 2010: Ayers, Bancroft, Cambridge, Fair Oaks, Gregory Gardens, Hidden Valley, Mt. Diablo, Pleasant Hill, Strandwood, Valhalla, Walnut Acres, Woodside and Ygnacio Valley. Six out-of-district students attend the school.

API score: 918 (highest performing school in Concord)

Geographic location: 3841 Larkspur Drive, Concord (near Willow Pass Road, next door to district office, west of Westwood and east of Holbrook and Wren Avenue)

Additional information: Monte Gardens parents held a rally last week, urging the district to keep their school open and use it as a model for other schools. The previous principal, Patt Hoellwarth, was promoted to the district office as a principal “coach,” because of her success in creating an environment at Monte Gardens that could be replicated at other sites.

The district has planned nearly $4.4 million in 2010 Measure C improvements at the site, including more than $1 million in solar projects, which would be partially funded through dedicated CREBS.

SEQUOIA ELEMENTARY:
Individual committee member votes: 4
Built: 1953, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 571
Capacity with Class Size Reduction (CSR): 562 (max. 685)

Utilities costs: $61,329
Cost of 4.8 FTE employees: $370,323
Total savings potential: $431,652

Nearby sites: Sequoia Elementary and Sequoia Middle School are adjacent to each other. Some people I have spoken to have suggested that they could be combined into a K-8 campus.

Sequoia is a “magnet” school that doesn’t have any neighborhood boundaries. The closest elementary campuses are Fair Oaks, Strandwood and Pleasant Hill elementary schools.

In spring 2010, more than 10 students from the following school boundary areas attended Sequoia Elementary:
Strandwood: 96 (doesn’t have this capacity; enrollment is 565 and CSR capacity is 574)
Fair Oaks: 57 (has capacity)
Hidden Valley: 57 (has capacity)
Pleasant Hill Elementary: 56 (doesn’t have this capacity; enrollment is 647 and CSR capacity is 682)
Valhalla: 55 (doesn’t have this capacity; enrollment is 554 and CSR capacity is 574)
Gregory Gardens: 53 (doesn’t have this capacity; enrollment is 411 and CSR capacity is 454)
Ygnacio Valley Elementary: 34 (no capacity; enrollment is 511 and CSR capacity is 470)
Sun Terrace: 22 (has capacity)
Delta View: 18 (no capacity; enrollment is 750, CSR capacity is 682)
El Monte: 17 (has capacity)
Meadow Homes: 13 (no capacity, enrollment is 917, CSR capacity is 898)

Ten or fewer students from the following school boundary areas attended Sequoia Elementary in spring 2010: Ayers, Bancroft, Bel Air, Cambridge, Highlands, Holbrook, Mountain View, Mt. Diablo, Rio Vista, Shore Acres, Silverwood, Valle Verde, Westwood, Woodside and Wren Avenue. One out-of-district student attended the school.

API score: 921 (highest performing school in Pleasant Hill)

Geographic location: 277 Boyd Road, Pleasant Hill (near Contra Costa Boulevard and Interstate 680, adjacent to Sequoia Middle School, west of Fair Oaks, north of Pleasant Hill Elementary and southeast of Strandwood Elementary)

Additional information: Some Sequoia parents are putting signs in their car windows that say: “Choice schools work! Support Sequoia Elementary.”

The district has planned more than $2.7 million in 2010 Measure C improvements at the site, including $659,245 in solar projects, which would be partially funded through dedicated CREBS.

SEQUOIA MIDDLE SCHOOL:
Individual committee member votes: 3
Built: 1951, no air conditioning (planned as part of Measure C)

2010 enrollment: 896
Capacity with prep period: 1,010 (max. 1,186)

Utilities costs: $86,537
Cost of 7.7 FTE employees: $636,991
Total savings potential: $723,528

Nearby sites: Sequoia Middle School and Sequoia Middle Elementary are adjacent to each other. Some have suggested they could be combined into a K-8 campus.

Sequoia is a “magnet” school that doesn’t have any neighborhood boundaries. The closest middle school campuses are Valley View, Oak Grove and Pleasant Hill middle schools.

In spring 2010, more than 10 students from the following school boundary areas attended Sequoia Middle School:
El Dorado: 170 (has capacity)
Oak Grove: 162 (has capacity)
Pleasant Hill Middle: 144 (doesn’t have capacity with prep period, but has capacity without prep period; enrollment is 799, prep period capacity is 878 and max. capacity is 1,010)
Valley View: 105 (has capacity)
Glenbrook: 99 (has capacity)
Riverview: 98 (has capacity)
Pine Hollow: 30 (has capacity)

Ten or fewer students from the following school boundary areas attended Sequoia Middle School in spring 2010: Diablo View and Foothill middle schools. Seven out-of-district students attended the school.

API score: 867 (highest performing middle school in Pleasant Hill)

Geographic location: 265 Boyd Road, Pleasant Hill (near Contra Costa Boulevard and Interstate 680, adjacent to Sequoia Elementary School, west of Oak Grove, southeast of Valley View and north of Pleasant Hill middle schools)

Additional information: Some teachers and parents rallied outside the school Tuesday and have placed signs on the fence letting the community know the campus is being recommended for closure.

Jane Enloe, a sixth-grade core and drama teacher at the school, told me in an e-mail that she and others from the campus are encouraging parents to write to the school board in opposition to the recommendation.

“We are demonstrating to show the unity of Sequoia Middle School,” she wrote. “We believe we are a unique school that should not be closed. Parents, students and staff feel strongly that we should be kept open and keep choice in our district.”

A student sent the following letter to the Times editor:

“Keep school open
I am a seventh grade student at Sequoia Middle School, and I attended Sequoia Elementary since my kindergarten year.
There has been a recent flurry of rumors at school of the closure of our campus. I believed it was all just talk and it couldn’t possibly be true.
Sequoia Middle School is a high-performing school, and I can’t see any reason to shut it down. But due to budget cuts, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District school closure committee will be voting on three schools to be closed for the 2011-2012 school year. Sequoia Middle and Sequoia Elementary are included in one of several scenarios.
Sequoia is a high-performing school with a complex elective system. We’re the only school in the district that offers three electives per seventh and eighth grader and that has a general shop offered to all three grades.
Our school is located near downtown Pleasant Hill, and many students and their parents shop there after school and buy merchandise, thus supporting those stores.
The staff is so supportive of students and everyone knows each other. We’re like one big family. We don’t want the district to break up our family.
Laura Maule
Pleasant Hill”

Actually, Sequoia is one of two district middle schools with a comprehensive wood shop. The other is Foothill Middle School in Walnut Creek.

Sequoia also has a state-of-the art technology center, as well as robust art, drama and music programs. It offers eight classes through a block schedule, with four one day and four the next day. Courses include Spanish, French and German, as well as advanced math.

The previous principal, Hellena Postrk, was promoted to the district office as a principal “coach,” because of her success in creating an environment at Sequoia Middle School that could be replicated at other sites.

The district has planned more than $4.9 million in 2010 Measure C improvements at the site, including more than $1 million in solar projects, which would be partially funded through dedicated CREBS.

Somewhat surprisingly, only one of the district’s lowest-performing schools is being recommended for closure: Glenbrook Middle School.

The district has 10 campuses in federal Program Improvement for failing to make adequate yearly progress. Six of these are among the lowest-performing in the state.

They are:
Bel Air Elementary in Bay Point (API 646; lowest in district)
Glenbrook Middle School in Concord (API 660)
Meadow Homes Elementary in Concord (API 648)
Oak Grove Middle School in Concord (API 646; lowest in district)
Rio Vista Elementary in Bay Point (API 669)
Shore Acres Elementary in Bay Point (API 659)

The other four Program Improvement schools are:
Cambridge Elementary in Concord (API 753)
Fair Oaks Elementary in Pleasant Hill (API 731)
Riverview Middle School in Bay Point (API 672)
Ygnacio Valley Elementary in Concord (API 666)

Consultants recommended against closing Bay Point schools, as well as Meadow Homes Elementary, because the student populations in their boundaries is growing. Rose Lock, assistant superintendent for Student Achievement and School Support, suggested that boundaries could be redrawn to include overflow Meadow Homes students in the Fair Oaks attendance area.

Oak Grove Middle School appeared in one scenario that received one committee vote and will not be forwarded to the board. The school received four individual votes (more than Sequoia Middle School).

Cambridge and Ygnacio Valley elementary schools weren’t included in any scenarios. Cambridge received no individual votes and Ygnacio Valley Elementary received one. (Both are over their capacities.)

At tonight’s meeting, the board expects to review the committee’s recommendations, then discuss them. The board plans to allow public comment for 30 minutes, then to direct staff about “next steps.” It expects to receive a formal recommendation Jan. 25 and to vote on school closures Feb. 8.

This timeframe leaves many parents up-in-the air, as kindergarten pre-registration begins and transfer deadlines pass.

Pre-registration for children to attend kindergarten at Monte Gardens Elementary is Thursday. Sequoia Elementary will hold its kindergarten registration on Tuesday. Districtwide kindergarten registration is Feb. 1.

Intradistrict transfer applications were due Jan. 15. However, Lawrence has said parents of students whose schools are closed would be given an additional 30 days to submit transfer applications, after the board votes.

Mayo declined to comment about the recommendations before the meeting.

“I want to listen to the presentation with an open mind and listen to the public comment as well,” she said.

What would you like to tell the board about the recommendations?

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  • District Parent

    Just curious? If solar is intended to bring money to the general fund by reducing energy costs at no cost to the district (they have the measure C funds) then how can they say they are saving on utility costs by closing a school? Wouldn’t they save on utility costs regardless.
    That would mean that the saving per scenario should be reduced as follows:
    1.) Reduce savings by $283,000
    2.) Reduce savings by $276,000
    3.) Reduce savings by $214,000
    I know that doesn’t address which schools should close but if they are going to count on saving money at the intangible expense of closing schools the numbers should reflect a savings that can only be accomplished by closing the schools, not one that would exist regardless.

  • tharrington

    You’re right that the district is hoping to come as close to even on utility costs as possible with its solar projects. Pete Pedersen should be able to give a more definitive estimate of projected utility costs after the solar projects are installed. Also, the district may have to return some CREBS funding if it isn’t used at the sites designated.
    And, as I noted above, the staffing savings may not be accurate either, since union employees with seniority at schools that are closed may be transferred to other schools. This means higher-paid employees will likely remain in the district, while lower-paid employees (with less seniority), would likely be laid-off.
    For all five elementary schools recommended, 4.8 jobs would be eliminated. I believe the estimated costs are based on the actual employees at sites now.
    Closure of Glenbrook Middle School would eliminate about 6.7 employees and closure of Sequoia Middle School would eliminate about 7.7 employees.

  • Joe Smith

    It seems inconceivable, but I think we are all being set up for the district to close the choice schools.

    I hope the people claiming they will recall every board member that votes that way are serious. I would like to be the first to sign such a recall petition.

  • truthbetold

    All the 10 schools listed in the Federal Improvement Program have one major thing in common…major Hispanic population. I’m not placing blame on this group; however, something must change so that these schools’ API scores improve. What must change is open to debate and a big can of worms. Closing “choice” schools with some of the highest API scores in the District is not the answer. Businesses do not close high performing, profitable divisions and keep the boat anchors operating…well most, with the exception of GM.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    Let’s be clear that the schools being referred to as “Choice” schools are only partially “Choice”. The district operates them, and it can decide to change the way they are run, or close them, at any time. Their survivial is not dependent on what parents want for their children. We already know they are popular. The survival of these learning environments depends on this monopoly school district’s decision to keep them open — or not. That is not the kind of choice that will ever show much promise for transforming education in California.

    “Without choice, there is no accountability.”

  • celeste mccullough

    I would like to comment on the child’s letter. I too wrote the district about the collabrative partnership Sequoia Middle school has with downtown Pleasant Hill. I shop at Lucky’s all the time. Joined Massage Envy becasue it is so close to the kids school. Furthermore, our honor roll kids (3.0) receive coupons to shop downtown and our band play music in the plaza. Downtown Pleasnant Hill relies on our students, staff and families!
    ps. I really thought yuor article was helpful

  • Theresa Harrington

    FYI, here’s the direct link to the consultant’s Powerpoint presentation regarding the school closure process: http://bit.ly/gyMP1G