This past week I read an article about Alum Rock Union School District. I want to start by expressing how sorry I am for all the families and students of this district. They’ve been dragged through the consequences of bad decisions and money mishandling uncovered in a 2017 district audit. Add to that the struggles in education during the pandemic; I know for a fact the district had a hard time setting up distance learning for its students. Many didn’t even have the technology needed months after distance learning started. Now, the district is talking about closing schools due to low enrollment.
The 10 possible school closures would affect East San Jose working families, predominantly families of color. It seems like different ideas were brought to the table such as sharing principals across campuses, eliminating up to 50 positions including school librarians, and other cuts it appears were still not enough to cover the $7.8 million shortfall. So it seems the plan is to close a few schools at a time over the next several years, and lease out their campuses.
I find it interesting how district leaders address charter schools popping up in the last 10 years, and how that caused students to leave those schools. I think the real problem was never addressed, and that is finding out why families left their district school to attend charters. The district should have been working hard to improve their schools to match up with the quality education some charters offer. This would have helped with student retention. I know families and educators in the district will be impacted by school closures; I’d imagine the schools that remain open will be overpopulated by the overflow.
It’s likely the district will see even more families leave to nearby charters schools; they provide a much needed second option. The charters are filling a need where families are not satisfied. After all, Alum Rock Union has a long history of shadiness and I encourage you to read about past corruption via the links below:
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