Parents Fight Back, Keep Kids Out of School

By Rory Devine
|  Friday, Jan 21, 2011  |  Updated 6:25 AM PDT
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The Vista school district is considering closing Olive Elementary based on research citing budget cuts and declining enrollment. At the board meeting Jan. 20, parents and teachers pleaded for them to reconsider.

The Vista school district is considering closing Olive Elementary based on research citing budget cuts and declining enrollment. At the board meeting Jan. 20, parents and teachers pleaded for them to reconsider.

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Parents Fight Back, Keep Kids Out of School

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Some parents in Vista kept their children home Thursday to protest plans to close Olive Elementary School.

The Vista Unified School District is considering the possibility of closing the school and sending the students to Washington Middle School, located just next door.

“They just want money. They don't worry about our kids,” said parent Patricia Hernandez.

The discussion was not even on Thursday night's school board agenda, but dozens of families showed up with signs. Some requested to speak.

"I know it's money. It's all about money nowadays, it's short," one parent told the board. "But it's our children's education. It's our children's future."

The district blames lower enrollment at both schools.

“Olive is a good example. They're down to 442 students when in actuality they can house 900 students,” said Vista Unified school District spokesperson Donna Caperton.

She says studies show a K-8 school provides a nurturing environment all the way through into high school.

Closing Olive Elementary and using it for a different purpose also saves money and since both schools are under school improvement, the district must restructure them to meet federal guidelines.

About 35 percent of the school's 442 students stayed home from school on Thursday -- an action that costs the district money.

Other parents didn’t think keeping their kids home from school was the right solution.

“I still don't want the school to close, no. But I don't think keeping your kids out of school is a wise decision,” said parent Angela Burcato.

The district put the issue on the agenda for its Jan. 27 meeting. The facilities committee will present its recommendations about facilities closures. It's not clear when a vote will be taken, but if the board decides to close the school, that would take effect next fall.

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