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February 25, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, February 25, 2005

Guest Opinion Guest Opinion (February 25, 2005)

School-closure process moving forward

By Ellen Wheeler

I am writing to thank you again for covering our school-closure process so extensively. Followers of this story know that this process has taken a lot of time, which is frustrating to some members of the community, while others ask us to take more time.

What I see in this process is that yes, democracy is messy, and yes, thoughtful process takes time. I deeply appreciate the long hours and work put in by our superintendent, our administrative team and our school board. After two years of dedicated work by the school-closure task force and many meetings on this subject by the board of trustees, with still more scheduled, I believe we are close to a school-closure decision that is best for our entire community.

By the conclusion of our board meeting on Feb. 17, our board and superintendent had decided that we should look at choosing one of two schools to close, Slater or Castro. We agreed that we would examine the pros and cons of each of those closure decisions. And, we decided that we would determine the best program structure for the school that remains open, and transportation commitments for families of the school that is closed.

We know that parents and children want to know which school they are going to next year, and how they will get there. We are currently scheduled to have that discussion and vote at a special board meeting on March 22.

The board has scheduled two community forums March 10 and 16 at Castro School, which will have Spanish translation. (The forums will probably start at 6 p.m. but interested readers should contact the district Web site at www.mvwsd.k12.ca.us for more up-to-date time information.)

This is complicated work, requiring much intelligence, dedication and time. All of us -- board members, superintendent, administrative team, principals, teachers, parents and community members -- are grappling with this very difficult decision. I appreciate the thoughtful interactions we have all had around this difficult decision about school closure and look forward to a resolution soon.
Ellen Wheeler is president of the Mountain View-Whisman School District board of trustees.


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