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March 6, 2007 > New Haven community forum summary

New Haven community forum summary

More than 30 people braved cold, rainy weather to discuss transition plans for school closures and possible uses for closed school sites, the primary topics of the February meeting of New Haven Community Forum, held Tuesday evening at Barnard-White Middle School.

Chief Business Officer Carol Gregorich and Executive Director of Student Services Kathy Moniz discussed the transition plans for the closure of Cabello Elementary School at the end of the current school year and Barnard-White at the end of the 2007-08 school year. They emphasized the District's desire to minimize impact on both families affected by the closures and employees.

Ms. Gregorich and Mrs. Moniz also reviewed the District's preliminary recommendation for using the site, which involves using the site to house Student Services, Special Education, Centralized Enrollment and Home Schooling, opening a Community Day School, creating a centralized west-side preschool program for both Kidango and special education, and expanding Adult School opportunities to the west side of town. Programs must be revenue-generating or at least revenue-neutral.

The Forum then split into four groups, which were asked to 1) list questions and comments about the transition plans and brainstorm concerns that might still need to be addressed, and 2) list questions and comments and brainstorm concerns about the Cabello proposal and other ideas for the site, as well as ideas for using Barnard-White (after the site is used to as a temporary home for Cesar Chavez Middle School while that site is undergoing modernization in 2008-09. Each of the small groups then shared summaries of their discussions:

Transition Plan discussions:

* Feelings of "uncomfortableness" about bumping of classified employees
* Can District help those who don't want to continue in New Haven with training, job search?
* Effort being made by District to facilitate change has been noticed and is appreciated
* How many students will each class have in the new school sites?
* Impact of housing CCMS at BWMS
* Need for Open House
* Impact on Spectrum Community Services programs currently in place at BWMS
* Impact on feeder elementary schools Hillview Crest, Emanuele, Searles and Kitayama
* Whipple Road can not handle the additional traffic that will be generated when CCMS moves to the BWMS campus
* Children should not be made to walk across railroad tracks on their way to school
* Need for Spanish-speaking support for parents and for counselors who speak Spanish.
* Transportation: What are alternatives for parents who can't afford bus transportation? Will students with Special Education IEPs have transportation?
Will all BWMS students be assigned to CCMS? How many more children will need buses with Cabello closed?

School site use discussions:

Cabello
* City library
* Spectrum Community Services
* District charter school
* Model for pre-school program
* Can District create contacts that allow flexibility to accommodate any
revenue-generating programs that might come later, such as state-mandated pre-school?
* Move Alvarado Elementary to the Cabello site
* Senior citizen classes
* Alternative care for special-needs seniors
* Is it safe having pre-school students on the same campus with a Community Day School?
* Health clinic
* Centro de Servicios
* Centralized Enrollment and Adult School proposals make senses, but Kidango
proposal would mean more people having to transport children
* Senior citizen classes
* What will be maintenance costs for the site?
* How much money can the site generate?

Barnard-White

* Vocational training, including classes in carpentry, electricity, etc.
* 9th-grade campus
* Dual immersion school
* Multiple-program site (similar to plan for Cabello)
* Magnet school for 6th-12th graders
* Performing Arts academy
* Expand Adult Education, including daytime ESL Adult classes with childcare
* Senior citizens classes
* Alternative care for special-needs seniors
* Community Center/gymnasium
* Workshops, vocational training
* Boys/Girls Club and/or YMCA

One of the groups emphasized that the District should not sell either site, and Ms. Gregorich assured the group that there is so such plan. Another group also discussed concerns about proposed changes to the daily bell schedule that would have high school students getting out of class after elementary and middle school students, meaning they no longer would be able to pick up younger siblings.

The New Haven Community Forum, hosted by Superintendent Dr. Pat Jaurequi, is one of the initiatives to come out of the District's Strategic Plan and is designed to give parents and the community access to information and an opportunity to contribute their ideas. Remaining meetings for the 2006-07 school year:

* Tuesday, March 27 at Conley-Caraballo High School, 7 p.m.

* Tuesday, April 24 at Cesar Chavez Middle School, 4 p.m.

* Tuesday, May 22 at the Educational Services Center, 6 p.m.

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