Background on School Consolidation Process
In February 2020, following a four-month stakeholder engagement process, the Evergreen School District’s Board of Education approved the consolidation of Laurelwood and Dove Hill Elementary Schools at the end of the 2019-20 school year, and the consolidation of a third school, at the end of the 2020-21 school year. These consolidations were both necessary and required as part of our district’s fiscal stabilization plan to close a $12 million budget shortfall, due in large part to declining enrollment.
Staff and community members who followed the school consolidation discussions in 2018-2020 are also aware that OB Whaley School was referred to as the third school to consider for closure after the first two schools, Dove Hill and Laurelwood closed.
The Evergreen School District Board subsequently determined that closing a third school during the COVID-19 Pandemic would put an immense strain not only on staff and resources, but also would disrupt communities at a critical time when so much anguish and anxiety about school already existed.
On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, during its regularly scheduled meeting, the Evergreen School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendation of Dr. Antoine Hawkins, Superintendent of Schools to keep O.B. Whaley Elementary School open and to repurpose the school as a Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Magnet School.
Current Activity and Status
On March 23, 2022 Interim Superintendent Steve Betando notified the Board of Trustees that he accepted the recommendation of the Evergreen School District Superintendent’s School Consolidation Advisory Committee to recommend O.B. Whaley for closure/consolidation at the end of the 2022-23 school year. The Board of Trustees will not take action on this matter until the May 12, 2022 Board of Trustees Meeting.
The Board of Trustees held two public hearings on April 6, 2022 and May 2 at 6:00 p.m. at Quimby Oak Middle School. Enrollment demographics, projections, and budgets were shared along with the school reassignment transition plan for combining student attendance and transportation options to Katherine Smith Elementary. To help ensure a smooth process transition, the community learned about the School Choice process.
The Board of Trustees will vote on the recommended closure/consolidation at their regularly scheduled meeting at 6:00 p.m. on May 12, 2022 at the ESD Board Room, 3188 Quimby Road, San Jose.
Purpose of Stakeholder Engagement in this Process
The community engagement process will have several purposes:
To clarify the status of the school closure actions by the Board
To explain the possible actions for school building use including a grade-up/grade/in model
To share the school reassignment process
To take input and ideas from stakeholders
The information from the meetings will be used by District leadership to help inform staff recommendations for the Board to consider at their regular Board meetings.
If you would like to review the previous school consolidation process, you can view it at: www.eesd.org/school-consolidation-dove-hill-laurelwood.
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Source: Xie, Yuxuan and Willis, Daniel J. "Big drop during pandemic caps two decades of enrollment swings in California schools." EdSource, March 23, 2022.