_____________________________ ST. NORBERT CHURCH           RATES _______________________


Exclusive: ABCUSD Committee Proposes Schools for Consolidation

December 23, 2023

Editor’s note: In the Dec. 23, 2023 print version, LCCN mistakenly identified Juarez’ location in Artesia, the school is in Cerritos.

By Brian Hews

Los Cerritos Community News has obtained an internal letter from ABCUSD to district employees and staff outlining the School Facilities and Declining Enrollment Capacities Ad-Hoc Committee proposal to consolidate six schools in the ABCUSD.

The schools are Aloha ES, Furgeson ES, Hawaiian ES, Juarez Academy, Kennedy STEM, and Willow ES.

Hawaiian and Furgeson are in the one-square-mile city of Hawaiian Gardens; Aloha and Willow are in Lakewood; Kennedy and Juarez are in Cerritos. Black dots on the map below.

The letter from ABCUSD Superintendent Gine Zietlow read, “The ad hoc committee has moved closer to their goal of providing a recommendation to the board. After reviewing data, they are looking at six school sites for potential consolidation. 

“Just to be clear, even if a school is on this list, that does not mean the committee will include it in its final recommendation. It means that the committee is going to look at further data around each of those schools regarding enrollment.” 

The committee only makes a recommendation, and the board will make the final determination only after considering the issue “carefully.” 

If the board determines to consolidate any school, the soonest it will occur is the ‘25-’26 school year.

Zietlow continued, “I know this may be concerning, but I want you to remember that the committee still has many months of work ahead, where they will engage with the community through townhall meetings and dive deeper into each school on the list. Sadly, enrollment across the region continues to decline, and we are not immune to it. In 2019, we had about 20,000 students. This year, we have about 18,000 students, and demographers predict that we will be down to just over 15,000 students in 2029.

“We must address this issue so we can continue to dedicate resources to support students in the future.”

The committee will hold town hall meetings later this winter to get community input. 

The next committee meeting will be held on January 17, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at the ABCUSD District Office, in the Board Room, located at 16700 Norwalk Blvd. in Cerritos. Public comments about this issue should be made at the committee meeting.