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Won’t Close Schools: ABCUSD Declining Enrollment Committee Just Says No

February 22., 2024

By Brian Hews

At Wednesday’s town hall meeting, the ABCUSD Declining Enrollment Committee, with a motion from former ABCUSD Board Member Leticia Mendoza, voted not to close any schools in the district.

In December 2023, Los Cerritos Community News 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 were Aloha ES, Furgeson ES, Hawaiian ES, Juarez Academy, Kennedy STEM, and Willow ES.

An uproar of families and staff of the targeted school ensued, with the ABCUSD calling town hall meetings to discuss the closures.

Wednesday’s meeting started with public comments, with about twenty speakers, then moved to the discussion items on the agenda. 

One of the twelve possible discussion items proposed narrowing down the list to six schools; that’s when former board member Medoza, who later said that closing schools is a last resort, made the motion that the committee recommend to the board that no schools be closed and that it explores alternative solutions. ABCFT President Ray Gaer seconded the motion. 

Gaer supported Mendoza’s motion, pointing out that, “the ABC is not in a dire financial situation at this time, that teachers and students are continuing to make academic gains, we still have funds to avoid combo classes and we currently don’t have schools so small that we have teachers who are the lone classroom teacher in their classroom. 

“It would have been helpful to get information about the budget or how closures could positively impact students and parents but that was not given as a lead-up to the committee forming.” 

A call to question motion failed, adding to the night’s drama, but then the roll call vote passed Mendoza’s motion.

The ABCUSD School Board still has the last say, they can accept the recommendation, choose to follow parts of it, or reject it and close the schools.

The Committee will continue to meet to look at other solutions to increase enrollment at our schools, with the goal of providing a report to the ABCUSD Board of Education in May 2024. The Committee will meet again on March 20. 2024.