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District: No Decision Yet on School Closures

The special committee is analyzing budgets, weighing options in biweekly meetings.

As parents throughout Fountain Valley wonder how the city's school districts will deal with the continuing state budget crisis, Fountain Valley School District officials said last week that no decision had been made regarding school closures.

"It's very early in the process," said Steve McMahon, assistant superintendent for business services for the Fountain Valley School District. "We have no preconceived notions. There has not been a school selected. There has not been a decision made to close a school. The district's going to learn what the community wants, and the community's going to learn more about the situation the district is in."

McMahon said that the district's budget has been cut by well over $1,000 per pupil in recent years and that the district has already been through layoffs and implemented furlough days for employees. The district could potentially save between $375,000 and $400,00o by closing a school, he said. To that end, a boundaries and school closure committee has been formed and meets every two weeks. Its 19 members include one parent from each school in the district, two teachers, two principals, two classified employees and two at-large members of the community.

During the committee's first two meetings, members have mostly learned about how school budgets work, McMahon said. But the committee will eventually be tasked with making a recommendation to the school board by September as to whether school closures are a necessary next step.

"It's a controversial thing and not something anyone wants to consider, but it's something worth looking at," McMahon said. "And it's something two predecessors who sat in my chair in the business office both made as a recommendation of something to look at. So I think the board's picked up on that and said, 'Let's do some more exploration.' "

The committee could make a decision on a potential school closure within a month, McMahon said. Should the members decide to close a school, they would then determine criteria for which school should be closed, which would take about one more month, he said.

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