Board 'Saves' Schools Slated to Close

Decision follows another credit agency downgrade

By Lauren Steussy
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 8:57 AM PDT
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School Board officials voted 5 to 0 to keep open several San Diego schools slated for closure at a Tuesday night meeting.

School Board officials voted 5 to 0 to keep open several San Diego schools slated for closure at a Tuesday night meeting.

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School Board officials voted 5 to 0 to keep several San Diego schools open at a Tuesday night meeting.

Board members experienced mounting pressure from the public after the closures were proposed. San Diego Unified School District faces a $60 to 110 million shortfall, and closing the schools would have saved them $5 million.

“We are not recommending the closure realignment tonight of those schools, but we are recommending continuing the process,” said President of the San Diego Unified School Richard Barrera District at Tuesday’s meeting.

Cheers from 300 concerned parents, teachers and students erupted after the unanimous vote was announced. Yet many parents were angry the Board even proposed the plan, according to our media partner, Voice of San Diego.

Board members voted to keep these schools open:
Paradise Hills
Vista Grande
Crown Point
Bayview Terrace
Dana and Correia middle schools.

Now, the district must find an alternate way to reduce their deficit by November 29 and make a final decision by December 13.

At Tuesday's meeting, the board looked at some recommendations, including a few plans to "consolidate" schools. One plan would consolidate Crawford from four schools down to one school with four "pathways," according to the meeting agenda.

The board also decided to spend $30,000 to explore a bond on the ballot in November of next year. That bond may shape which schools close.

On Monday, Standard and Poor’s Rating Service downgraded the district’s long-term bonds from a AAA rating to a AA- rating, citing structural deficit given spending increases and their constrained budget. S&P is the second credit rating agency to downgrade the district’s rating. Moody’s Investor Service also downgraded the district last Thursday.

The downgrades will result in higher interest rates from taxpayers when the district borrows money for long-term projects, VOSD said.

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