CUPERTINO, Calif. - Following a board meeting so heated it lasted until 1:30 am, the Cupertino Union School District voted last night to close or consolidate several elementary schools.
Heartbreak. That's what families in the Cupertino Union School District are feeling right now.
"It's going to be really sad to see the school closed. I made my best friends here," said Siena Toleno, a recent Regnart graduate.
The decision came after a marathon school board meeting. Regnart Elementary is closing, so is Meyerholz and students from Muir are being relocated.
Parents, angry with the board, feel like its a lot of change for students coming off a pandemic.
"Their lack of empathy is really disgusting," said Yari Toleno, a former PTA president at Regnart.
But district officials say, this decision came down to numbers: with the high cost of living here, many young families can't afford homes here. And now, they simply don't have enough students to support all these schools.
"The board has had conversations and discussions about our student decline in enrollment. We've lost approximately 5000 students since 2015 and we're projected to lose another 4000 in the next 8 years," said Erin Lindsey, spokeperson for the Cupertino Union School District.
They're not alone districts like Oak Grove, Redwood City, and Hayward have all faced similar problems.
But the closures leave parents with difficult decisions, and some may not stay.
"Our walk now between the two schools we have to pick is about 35 minutes each way. Our only option for parents that can't drive or drop her off every day will be probably to move her to private school," says parent Kelly Crosby.
For months parents offered the board alternatives to the closures, which they say fell on deaf ears.
"They're going to turn our positive energy of the community into negative energy," said Homer Tong, of Cupertino.
But Regnart's PTA president says the focus now must be on easing the transition for the sake of the students.
"We definitely want to make sure our kids do not suffer anymore from this decision. So we definitely are going to work together with the other schools and the district. At the same time we still want the district to know how disappointed and frustrated we are," said Regnart PTA co-president Eunice Peng.
The schools that are closing will be leased not sold, leaving the door open for future change. Parents in those schools are being given a choice about which district school to attend next year. Those decisions have to be made by November 30th.