REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KTVU) - The Redwood City School District has decided to close four schools, citing low enrollment and budget troubles. They voted on the matter at last night's board meeting, following months of discussion.
The district says they can't sustain 16 schools with only 7,500 students. And so they're closing some, and merging others.
Parents are angry. And they're sad. The decision to shutter four elementary schools, has left them scrambling for other options.
Sandra Rodriguez, a parent at Hawes Elementary School says, "That's too many people worried. Where we put the child? Because everybody has to find another place."
Hawes will close. So will Fair Oaks Elementary.
Adelante and Orion will too, though their respective Spanish immersion and parent participation programs will live on, merged with other campuses.
Beth Snedegar, a parent at Orion says, "It is much better than it could have been. I mean we're one of the luckier schools."
Redwood City says they had no choice. They've lost 2,000 students over the last six years.
Many have moved away due to the high cost of living, others have gone to the district's three charter schools.
Jorge Quintana with the Redwood City School District says, "That obviously has caused a loss of millions of dollars for the Redwood City School District, which means the district is operating in a deficit. And it has to cut $10 million for the next three years."
They say closing the schools, and merging the student bodies will save $4 million. The schools selected all had low enrollment, fewer than 400 students a piece.
Quintana says, "The mergers are about numbers. Numbers and dollars."
Still parents say the closures feel unfair, affecting only the predominately Latino, east side of town.
Rodriguez says, "Why only where the school has too many Latinos?"
The vacant schools will be leased. So will the school district offices, also slated to be closed.
Teachers will be expected to move to the new expanded schools.
Kevin Sugar, president of the Redwood City Teachers Assoc, says "There's a lot of anxiety within our membership, a lot of disappointment. a lot of questions."
The district says they'll work on the transition plan and match students with new schools in the coming months.
Quintana says, "Our students are going to have a school next year, they're going to have teachers next year. it's just going to look different."