The Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) voted Thursday to combine a preschool and kindergarten facility with an elementary school, despite parents' efforts to keep the school where it is.
The school district proposed to move the Village Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) from its current building on 6th Street into the Village Elementary School Building about a half-mile away.
The school board voted unanimously in favor of the relocation at a meeting Thursday at the ECDC. Students will move into the Village Elementary campus starting in the fall of 2020.
Parents said they were concerned that combining the facility with an elementary school may cause overcrowding and potential staff cuts.
Jacqueline Hardt attended the meeting with protest signs and was urging other parents to do the same.
"This is a very special space for our students. It’s purposefully designed for kindergarteners," Hardt said. "What they’re proposing appears to be a definite downgrade to what they have now."
CUSD Superintendent Karl Mueller said the move will actually maximize resources and improve services by consolidating two sites into one building.
"I want to further assure our community that we are not eliminating programs or services, we are consolidating for operational efficiencies. Our goal is to optimize district resources to ensure academic excellence," the district said in a statement to NBC 7.
Opponents are also critical of the move because they say the school district is only doing this because it is in debt.
A meeting agenda posted online with the proposal said the school district will only eliminate staffing redundancies and any staffing reduction will save the district $450,000 per year.
Hardt said saving funds shouldn't be placed over the students' education.
"I understand they have a deficit but putting money over their youngest most vulnerable students just doesn’t seem very inspired and innovative and it seems to be against their mission statement, which is exactly that – to inspire and innovate," she said.
District officials say they would have been in serious debt by the 2024-2025 school year had the relocation not been made. The district plans to lease the ECDC building.
"This all didn't need to happen. Somehow they got their priorities all mixed up. They think they it's their number one priority to have a nursery school instead of running a high school, a middle school and an elementary school. They have an ego-meniacle obsession with running a preschool," John Roamer said.