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August 29, 2006 > Decision still to be made on school closure

Decision still to be made on school closure

Submitted by Pat Jaurequi

As we continue gathering information to help us make the difficult but very necessary decision about which schools to close, I am committed to keeping the process open and inclusive.

The Board of Education voted last May to reduce spending on facilities and operations by closing one of our eight elementary schools at the start of the 2007-08 school year and one of our three middle schools at the start of 2008-09. In July, the Board reviewed a list of questions to be used as criteria in determining which schools should be closed.

While I understand that some folks will continue to question the need to close a middle school, I believe the Board made the correct decision last May and that our task now must be to focus on which schools to close.

This Thursday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m., we will hold the second of four forums designed to give parents, employees and other community members further opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback. The meeting will be at the Educational Services Center.

Forums also are scheduled for; 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 (in Spanish), and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13. In addition, the Board will host a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5

Declining enrollment is only one of the reasons for the changes we're making in New Haven, changes that also include the administrative and clerical ratios we adopted last spring, the new bell schedules that go into effect this fall, and our updated transportation policies. The other reason - the more important reason - is that more than half of the students in our district are not proficient in English/language arts and/or mathematics. We must direct more resources to teaching and learning if we are going to realize the most ambitious goal in our Strategic Plan: to reach 85 percent proficiency by 2010.

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