On March 17th, the OUSD 7-11 Committee will hold a public hearing to present and discuss their tentative recommendations regarding elementary school property to the OUSD School Board. This is a very important meeting.
Here’s the agenda: 3-17-16 Agenda
You may recall the 7-11 Committee was formed to provide advice and recommendations to the Board regarding surplus elementary school property. (There was already a 7-11 Committee held in the past to discuss the District office property where Chaparral High is located.)
It’s no secret that enrollment is down about 35-40% and may go lower still before stabilizing. The falling numbers suggest that the District may have property or facilities that we do not need, and that we should not spend precious dollars on. Especially now that the District has bond funds to spend on facilities improvement, due diligence requires that the Board investigate all possibilities of maximizing the benefits of the bond money.
The committee, comprised of volunteers from throughout the District, has been meeting for months and has reviewed voluminous data and reports. You can find all the documents they’ve seen, as well as agenda, meeting minutes, and meeting videos here.
So, discussion has boiled down to these very important questions.
- Given ultimate enrollment at around 60% of the District’s peak, is there surplus elementary school property?
- If there is surplus property, what is it and what should be done with it?
The challenge for OUSD is the possibility that we actually are using more property than we can properly take care of. The committee has concluded that there is surplus property. There are options including: sale, lease, repurpose within the District, or do nothing at all.
The Committee has been discussing a possible recommendation to close Meiner’s Oaks Elementary School. But it wasn’t the only school mentioned for closing and it may not be the final recommendation. This discussion has real implications affecting all students and families in the District. Many questions have been raised about how this conclusion was reached, and what considerations led to it. Many people feel that no schools should be closed, no matter that the consequences.
The meeting on the 17th is the first opportunity for the community and the committee to dialog about the committee’s potential recommendation. Following the public hearing, the committee will continue its discussion, considering the feedback from the community.
As usual, the meeting will be recorded for later viewing, and I am told that Spanish translation services will be available as well.
Whether your children attend Meiner’s Oaks or another school in the District, this meeting involves you. Please attend and share your thoughts, or watch the meeting and share by email. Thank you!