For Immediate Release: January 22, 2020
Contact: Johanna Villareal, 650.279.6681
Evergreen School District Superintendent Announces Recommendation to Close
Laurelwood and Dove Hill Elementary Schools
(San Jose, CA) Evergreen School District Superintendent Dr. Emy Flores announced this evening the two schools that she will be recommending to the Board of Trustees for closure/consolidation at the end of the 2019-20 school year: "This evening, I accepted the recommendation of Evergreen School District Superintendent's School Consolidation Advisory Committee to recommend the following schools for closure/consolidation at the end of the 2019-20 school year: Laurelwood and Dove Hill Elementary Schools. I have notified the Board of Trustees, the parents and staff of affected schools, and our district community. Please note that the Board of Trustees will not take action on this matter until the February 13, 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting."
This recommendation comes following two months of weekly meetings of the 24-member Superintendent's School Consolidation Advisory Committee and its subcommittees, and stakeholder community input sessions, meetings, and discussions. The committee considered and weighed a number of factors in making its recommendation, including, but not limited to, current and projected enrollment data, school boundaries, neighboring schools to receive a closed school's student population, transported students, and existing geographical neighborhoods.
The Evergreen School District is facing a $12 million financial shortfall that is the result of rising operating costs and declining enrollment. To address these challenges, in the district's fiscal stabilization plan approved in October 2019, the Board of Trustees approved the closure/consolidation of two schools at the end of the 2019-20 school year and one school at the end of the 2020-21school year.
Enrollment in the Evergreen School District has been in significant decline over the last five years and this trend will continue for the next five years. Specifically, over the past six years, the total enrollment has fallen by more than 2,500 students. The district also faces a projected enrollment decline of 1,500 students over the next five years, totaling a 10-year loss of more than 4,000 students. Over the next two years, the district is projected to lose over 750 students largely due to families moving out of the Bay Area to more affordable communities. This trend is not limited to Evergreen School District, as other Bay Area districts are facing similar situations.
"This is a difficult recommendation to make because none of us want to have to close schools," said Dr. Flores. "However, we also know that we cannot ignore the rising operating costs and declining enrollment that we have been facing--and will continue to face as a district, resulting in a $12 million financial shortfall. This decision keeps the best interests of our students in mind so that we can ensure that our schools maintain the level of excellence that our families expect and our students deserve. Ultimately, we must remain a fiscally-sound school district that supports innovative learning in the classroom and prepares students for our competitive global society."
The Board of Trustees will be holding two public hearings:
- Monday, January 27, 2020 at 6 p.m. at Quimby Oak Middle School Gymnasium, 3190 Quimby Road, San Jose
- Monday, February 3, 2020 at 6 p.m. at Chaboya Middle School Gymnasium, 3276 Cortona Drive, San Jose (New location)
The Board of Trustees will then vote on these recommended closures/consolidations at their regularly scheduled meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at the Quimby Oak Middle School Gym, 3190 Quimby Road, San Jose.
"We know that the families of the recommended schools for closure/consolidation have many questions and concerns, and I will be meeting with the parents at Laurelwood Elementary School at 8:20 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 23rd, and then with the parents at Dove Hill Elementary School from 8:20 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 24," said Dr. Flores. Dr. Flores will also be meeting with the staff members of the schools recommended for closure/consolidation over the next two days. The Human Resources staff is meeting with the district's employees' bargaining units to work out the details pertaining to staff members affected by the school closures/consolidations. The district will appoint a transition team to plan a number of different activities that will be planned to ensure facilitate a smooth transition for students and staff at the affected schools over the next few months.
"I would like to thank the Superintendent's School Consolidation Advisory Committee and district staff for all of their hard work over the past two months," said Dr. Flores. More information can be found at eesd.org/schoolconsolidation.
About Evergreen School District
The Evergreen School District serves 10,516 TK-8 students and operates fifteen elementary schools (K-6) and three middle schools (7-8) that provide a wide variety of educational programs to children who live in the Evergreen community located in the eastern area of San Jose, California. Evergreen prides itself on having teachers, classified employees, and administrators who are dedicated, experienced professionals who care about each student's well-being and academic preparation. More information about Evergreen School District can be found at www.eesd.org.
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