School Board Votes 4-2 to Close Doyle Park Elementary School

By: Ja'Mein Beale - Thu, 15 Mar 2012 14:49:26 -0800

SANTA ROSA (BCN)--The Santa Rosa City Schools board of education voted 4-2 early  this morning to close Doyle Park Elementary School at the end of this school  year.
     
The meeting on the emotional issue ended around 1:10 a.m.,  Associate Superintendent of Business Services Douglas Bower said.
     
Bower said the overriding reasons to close the school are  financial. The school's expenditures exceeded revenue by $181,000 in 2010-11,  Bower said. 
     
The district must reduce its 2012-13 budget by $8.3 million based  on Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2012-13 state budget.
     
The district recently earmarked budget cuts that include furlough  days and reducing general fund reserves, but still faces a $1.1 million  deficit.
     
School district officials also proposed the closure because of  declining enrollment and falling Academic Performance Index scores.
     
At a meeting on Feb. 22, the council was evenly split about  closing the school and a vote was not taken. 
     
Since then, the district designated the Doyle Park campus as the  site of the French-American Charter School for the year 2012-13. 
     
It is estimated that 260 K-6 students will attend the charter  school in the coming school year, and that 298 students will attend when  grades 7 and 8 are added in 2013-14. 
     
Some of the current 260 students at Doyle Park will be among those  enrolled at the charter school, and the rest will switch to one of three  other elementary schools in the area. Parents must decide where their  children will go by April 13.
     
Doyle Park Elementary School had an average daily attendance of  213 students in 2010-11 and has the lowest net revenue and highest per-pupil  spending among schools in the district, district officials said.
     
The district will conduct a thorough feasibility study on opening  a Spanish-English immersion program in the district by the start of the  2013-14 school year. 
     
Ninety percent of the Doyle Park's students are socioeconomically  disadvantaged, and 85 percent are non-white, primarily Hispanic.
     
Hearings on the school closure included comments that the  French-American Charter School is elitist and will displace the predominantly  Hispanic student body at Doyle Park.
     
School board member Laura Gonzalez said Wednesday night that the  issue had "fractured" the school board and community. One speaker at last  night's hearing said charter schools are increasing segregation throughout  the country.
 
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