SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education joins the Sacramento Council of PTAs, Hmong Innovating Politics (HIP) and Sacramento City Unified teachers in opposing the closure of eleven Sacramento City Unified School District elementary schools.
SCUSD may need to close schools, but the process the district is using to arrive at this decision is flawed, said the coalition in a statement released Monday.
Sac Coalition, in the statement, said the lack of transparency in how schools were selected, the absence of planning for the safe travel to school for the three thousand plus affected students, and now the last minute subtractions and additions of school sites to the lists demonstrates this. The coalition noted the communities affected by the closures have been engaged after the fact instead of being involved in the decision making process. This leads once again to the public perception that the upcoming vote is "a done deal."
Sac Coalition added that the district made no mention of future school closures when it put two facilities bond measures on the ballot last November, and now, taxpayers face the possibility of paying for the refurbishing and maintenance of vacant buildings, or more likely, charter schools which have no obligation to educate the children of the neighborhoods in which they are located.
"A flawed process will only make for a flawed decision. If the district needs to be 'right sized,' it should follow the California Department of Education's best practices for school closures," said Kate Lenox of the Sac Coalition. If the budget is driving this hasty decision, surely 2.5 million could be found in the budget somewhere to prevent these closures. In fact, the community group Making Cents Work is developing an alternative budget proposal for more efficient use of unspent restricted funds at the schools sites that would free up general fund monies."
Sac Coalition strongly suggested that SCUSD Board of Education members should act in the best interests of the communities they were elected to serve and vote no on the proposed closures at the Feb. 21 meeting.
(The Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education is comprised of parents, teachers, classified workers and community members who want to preserve the institution of public education. Our belief is in equal educational opportunity for all. www.savesacramentopublicschools.org)