TK-8 District of Choice

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 25, 2022

School consolidation will help Evergreen schools stay strong by closing a $12 million financial shortfall, and ensure that our schools maintain the level of excellence that our families expect for our students.

We want to acknowledge that closing any school is a difficult and emotional process, and this decision does not come easily. Evergreen is not alone in this challenge. Many school districts throughout the state of California, particularly in the Bay Area and other high cost of living areas, are experiencing declines in enrollment and are having to close schools due to people moving to areas with lower housing costs.  With the pandemic, many companies transitioned to fully remote working and even more people are moving out of the Bay Area, which has caused a steeper decline in enrollment.

The District is working closely with the community throughout the school consolidation process. We are providing our families opportunities for input during the process, including community information sessions.

We are providing answers to frequently asked questions during each phase of the school consolidation process. Please note that this information will be continually updated throughout, so please revisit this webpage for updates. We will also post updates on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) and through district communications.

Why are we consolidating a school?
Our district was required by the Santa Clara County Office of Education to adopt a fiscal stabilization plan to close a $12 million shortfall due to declining enrollment. As part of this plan, the Board of Education identified that three schools needed to be consolidated. The Board of Education voted to consolidate two of the three schools by the end of the 2019-20 school year, and the third one by the end of the 2020-21 school year. This decision was delayed due to the pandemic, and the board recently commenced this process.
 

When will a third school be closed?
A third school will be consolidated at the end of the 2022-23 school year.   Prior to that process, we will identify where students will be re-assigned for their home school.
 

Is there any chance that the district will decide not to close a third school?
No. Our fiscal stabilization plan with the SCCOE requires that we implement long-term solutions, which included closing three schools.
 

When will the board be voting on closing the third school?
On March 23, 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 June 14, 2022  Board of Trustees Meeting.
 

How much money does it take to keep a school open?  Can’t we just fundraise to keep the school open?
In order to keep a school operational, it costs approximately $500,000/year. That is for overhead costs, as well as administrative costs (principal, office staff). Our fiscal stabilization plan with the SCCOE requires that we implement long-term solutions.
 

What factors are considered when closing schools?
We know that changes are continuing to occur with all of our schools’ enrollment, which is why we are taking another look at the data before making a recommendation to close a school. We want to be thoughtful in this process because we know how difficult this is for our community.

There are several factors that will be considered when deciding to close a school, including enrollment numbers, the impact on the schools that will consolidate additional students from the closure, and other factors.  We will do our best to minimize the impact on families in our planning process.
 

We are hearing rumors that O.B. Whaley is going to be closed.  Why is this?
On March 23, 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 June 14, 2022  Board of Trustees Meeting.

In January 2020, OB Whaley was identified by the Superintendent’s School Consolidation Advisory Committee as a potential third school to close as part of the district’s budget stabilization process to close a $12 million shortfall due to declining enrollment. The Board of Education voted to consolidate two of the three schools by the end of the 2019-20 school year, and the third one by the end of the 2020-21 school year. This decision was delayed due to the pandemic, and the board recently commenced this process.
 

Is the claim that O.B. Whaley is being targeted because of low socioeconomic status of the community true?
When considering schools for closure, the biggest factor is the enrollment numbers. A school with fewer students and a steeper decline in enrollment must be considered for consolidation over schools with more students and a smaller decline in enrollment. The advisory committee also examined where students could be reassigned, and what would create the least disruptive transition for those students.  We realize how much transition our students have gone through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee recognizes that a nearby school with higher enrollment than OB Whaley has the capacity to accommodate all of the O.B. Whaley students, and keep them together. Students will still have their classmates and friends at the same school.
 

What schools will students be assigned to if their school is closed?
We are working on identifying which potential schools to be identified when a third school is consolidated, and for that reason we have not yet identified which schools the students will be assigned to.
 

Will students have bus transportation to and from their reassigned schools?
The Interim Superintendent will recommend transportation be provided for students to and from their reassigned school.
 

Parents are saying that the district is planning for a program to be housed at the third school to be closed.  How does that achieve cost savings?
Evergreen has the opportunity to provide an innovative program in our district.  This could be an educational program such as a STEAM program, after- school program, or some other kind of educational program; a community benefit program (like childcare or a community center) or other programs that can draw in families within Evergreen, as well as those outside Evergreen.  This program has the potential to be self-sustaining or can draw in funding by bringing additional students to our district. The Interim Superintendent met with the Whaley community on March 8 and the Evergreen Community on March 9 to get input on innovative programs for the district.  We also have two other closed school sites where we would consider housing a program.

If you would like to review the previous school consolidation FAQs, you can view them at: www.eesd.org/school-consolidation-dove-hill-laurelwood/faq

 

Questions or concerns? Email us at schoolconsolidation@eesd.org