Tom Butt for Richmond City Council The Tom Butt E-Forum About Tom Butt Platform Endorsements of Richmond Councilmember Tom Butt Accomplishments Contribute to Tom Butt for Richmond City Council Contact Tom Butt Tom Butt Archives
E-Mail Forum
More School Closure Information

Here's the "School Closure Background Information", from the District website. http://www.wccusd.net/Fiscal/School_closure/closure_presentation_12-11-0...

And, from the West County Times:

West Contra Costa releases list of potential schools to be closed

By Kimberly S. Wetzel
West County Times

Article Last Updated: 12/18/2008 04:38:14 PM PST



The West Contra Costa school district this afternoon released a preliminary list of schools to be closed over the next two years.

On the list are 14 campuses that could be targeted for closure: 11 elementaries, Kennedy High and Adams Middle in Richmond and Portola Middle in El Cerrito. It's unknown how many schools ultimately will be shuttered and which will close next year and which will close the year after.

Superintendent Bruce Harter stressed this afternoon that the list is meant to serve as a launching pad for discussion, and the school board ultimately could choose other campuses when it makes a final decision in February.

"The idea here was simply to get something to start from and give the committees something to work from," Harter said, referring to committees being formed to discuss the matter. "It is about helping our community members understand what our financial situation is. How we get to this place isn't because we want to close schools, but because we're in a financial corner where there's nowhere to escape."

District officials released the list as part of two different scenarios for shuttering campuses over the next two years. The district must close schools to realize $3 million in savings to close a budget gap, and closing an elementary will save about $300,000, while closing a middle or high school will save $800,000.

Students would be moved to other schools, and the property would be sold off with revenue going toward the district's debt. The exception would be Kennedy, which could be used for district offices or charter or alternative school space, Harter said.

Kennedy High Principal LaToya Williams said district officials have been talking about closing Kennedy for months; nothing changes with the release of the list.

"To be on a list isn't something we figured we'd be avoiding by any means," Williams said. "It wasn't a surprise."

Portola Middle School parent Robert Studdiford said he was alarmed to see the El Cerrito campus on the list even though the district last week moved forward with plans to rebuild it.

"I've got to ask, 'How is Portola on that list?'" Studdiford said. "Parents in my community are upset."

Parents, teachers and students have been packing school board meetings since November to address the issue. Last week, when an estimated 800 people showed up, Richmond Police handled crowd control, and 95 people signed up to speak. A meeting scheduled for tonight at DeJean Middle School in Richmond has been moved into the gym to accommodate an expected large crowd.

About half the 14 schools on the list ultimately could be targeted for closure, while the rest could stay open. Three Kennedy High and El Sobrante and Coronado elementaries are on both scenario lists, meaning that the possibility of their closure is strong.

"School closures are always hard no matter where they are," Harter said. "When the board finally makes a decision, there are people who are going to be very, very unhappy, and I assume that's what's going to happen here as well."

Tonight's meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at DeJean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave., Richmond.

Reach Kimberly S. Wetzel at 510-262-2798 or at kwetzel@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Schools considered for closure:

  Adams Middle School, Richmond

  Castro Elementary, El Cerrito

  Collins Elementary, Pinole

  Coronado Elementary, Richmond

  El Sobrante Elementary, El Sobrante

  Highland Elementary, Richmond

  Kennedy High School, Richmond

  Lake Elementary, San Pablo

  Olinda Elementary, El Sobrante

  Portola Middle School, El Cerrito

  Shannon Elementary, Pinole

  Stege Elementary, Richmond

  Valley View Elementary, Richmond
For more information, go to wccusd.net/Fiscal/School_closure/School_Closure_Consolidation_12-18-08.pdf