School Consolidation Frequently Asked Questions
Why is ABCUSD considering consolidating or closing schools?
Prior to the pandemic, ABC Unified, and nearly every public school district in California, has seen declining enrollment due to low birth rates, families moving out of the area or state, and a sharp decrease in immigration.
When there is a significant and continuous decline in enrollment, as has been experienced in ABC, it is the ethical responsibility of the Board to review how we are using our facilities and assigning our staff for the best learning opportunities for all students.
What are the issues in ABCUSD that make this review of school use necessary?
Declining enrollment, along with state budget issues and the end of one-time federal funds provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, are squeezing the resources needed to ensure all students have access to programs and supports they need to be successful at our schools.
In order to address these issues, the ABCUSD Board of Education formed the School Facilities Capacities and Declining Enrollment Ad Hoc Committee to consider what steps to take to ensure all schools are used efficiently and effectively. One of the steps the committee is considering is recommending the potential consolidation of a school or schools.
Why is ABCUSD considering consolidating or closing schools now?
Addressing declining enrollment now will allow the District to maximize the limited resources available to sustain and grow academic programs and supports for students at all schools as we see the end of one-time federal funds from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as we are realizing the state budget deficit that has been anticipated for the last couple of years.
What is the role of the School Facilities Capacities and Declining Enrollment Ad Hoc Committee?
The Ad Hoc Committee was formed by the Board of Education to prioritize the issues of declining enrollment and efficient use of school facilities by taking the following steps:
- Collaborate with District leaders and educational partners to develop recommendations and a plan of action to be presented to the Board of Education that will include a demographer projection, internal enrollment projections, and possible facility consolidation/closure.
- Explore how low enrollment affects academics and student performance
- Hold town hall meetings with families and community members
- Look at qualitative data about each school’s programs and features
- Monitor progress and outcomes of recommendations implemented
Who is part of the Ad Hoc Committee?
The Ad Hoc Committee is made up of members who were appointed by the Board of Education, a student, and representatives from the District’s employee groups.
What is the goal of the Ad Hoc Committee?
The Committee’s goal is to provide the Board of Education with a report containing their recommendations in the spring of 2024. More information about the Committee, including meeting agendas and minutes, can be found on the ABCUSD website online.
The Board of Education will consider the Committee’s report and recommendations before making a decision.
What ensures that the committee considers the issues of equity for families with students in the schools being considered for consolidation?
The Committee is guided by Assembly Bill 1912, which governs school consolidation, including careful consideration of the balance of student demographics and analyzing how student equity will be impacted.
What has the Committee done to date?
When the School Facilities Capacities & Declining Enrollment Ad Hoc Committee met this past May 2023, they began working on what data and criteria to use to evaluate schools.
What was the initial criteria used to determine the schools currently being reviewed?
After months of meeting and looking at many forms of data, they decided to use the following criteria:
- Number of classrooms
- Current student capacity
- Current enrollment
- Under/over enrollment
- Students transferring in or out
- Resident students
- Resident students attending
What did the committee do with the criteria?
Using this criteria, the committee made a list of six schools they will look at more closely to determine if consolidation is warranted. These schools are Aloha, Furgeson, Hawaiian, Juarez, Kennedy, and Willow Elementary Schools.
Again, even though these schools are under consideration for consolidation, no decision has been made to move forward. The Board of Education will consider the Committee’s recommendations, which may include potential consolidation of a school or schools.
What will happen when the Committee submits its report and recommendations to the Board of Education?
The Board will carefully consider the Committee’s report and recommendations before having discussion or making a decision to consolidate/close schools. The Board, not the Committee, wouldmake any final decision of consolidating schools. The Board may choose to follow the Committee’s recommendations, come up with their own plan, or even postpone making a decision until a later date if they feel they need more information.
If the Board decides to consolidate a school or schools, what would the timeline look like?
If the Board decides to consolidate a school or schools, it would not happen until after the 2025-2026 school year at the earliest.
What would the District do with any school sites that may be consolidated?
There is a separate process that the District will follow to determine the next steps with any facility that may be closed.
What is the expected timeline for the Committee to conclude their work?
The Committee is expected to submit its report to the ABCUSD Board of Education in May 2024, after beginning work in May 2023 and holding monthly meetings. The Board of Education will consider the Committee’s recommendations at a subsequent Board meeting.
How is the school community involved in the process?
Input from families, students, staff, and the communities we serve is an important part of the Committee’s process.
The public is encouraged to attend the monthly Committee meetings, and to attend one of the two town hall meetings that will be held on February 7, 2024, and February 15, 2024.
How was the school community notified that there was a committee to consider consolidating or closing schools?
The District sent postcards in October with the Committee meeting dates to every household within the District boundaries, whether they have a child attending a school or not.
The District also sent emails and postcards to all families of the six schools identified by the Committee for possible consolidation.
The District has completed additional outreach, including mailings, text, voice messages, and email, about the townhall meetings. Outreach will continue.
Will teachers or staff members lose their jobs due to a school closure?
No. All permanent teachers and staff members will remain with ABCUSD.