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Closure committee to work on pros, cons

The 20 members will make lists about closing a campus in Fountain Valley School District and bring them to May 10 meeting.

April 26, 2011|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com

A committee of parents, school officials and community members may vote at its next meeting on whether to recommend closing a campus in the Fountain Valley School District.

The School Boundaries & Closure Committee met for the third time Tuesday night and read a report from DecisionInsite, an Irvine-based school enrollment demographic firm. At the end of the meeting, Stephen McMahon, the district's assistant superintendent for business, asked the 20 committee members to make lists of the pros and cons of closing a school and bring their findings back at the next meeting May 10.

At that meeting, McMahon said, the committee may vote on whether to recommend that the district close a school at the end of the 2011-12 school year. If the committee votes for closure, the members would then vote on a recommendation of which site to close.

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"If there's a decision made on a closure, then we'll work on that together," McMahon said. "We'll look at all the schools at that point."

The district formed the committee earlier this year as it weighed options for cutting expenses. According to McMahon, the district would save about $400,000 annually if it eliminated one school.

The committee is expected to make a recommendation to the school board in September or October. The recommendation would be followed by a public hearing and a board vote, McMahon said.

According to the data from DecisionInsite, the district operates at 56.9% of the maximum enrollment that its classrooms permit. The places it behind the Huntington Beach City School District and Ocean View School District, which operate at 65.1% and 77.7%, respectively.

The district has closed eight campuses since 1979 due to declining enrollment, McMahon said. The most recent school to close was Fountain Valley Elementary School, which shut its doors in 1989.

Michael Waldinger, a special-education teacher at Fred Moiola K-8 School and member of the committee, said deciding whether to close another school would be a tough decision.

"We're going to do what we feel is best for the school district," he said. "But people are going to be unhappy one way or another."

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 10 at the district headquarters at 10055 Slater Ave., Fountain Valley.

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