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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Student Transfer to Ease Overcrowding

Faced with a growing problem of overcrowding at one school and significant under-enrollment at another, Ocean View School District officials plan to transfer 43 students on Monday.

The students will leave Oak View Elementary School, where officials say overcrowding has complicated education. They will relocate a mile west to Golden View Elementary School, a campus that was on the verge of closing last year because of a lack of students.

The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders who will be changing schools just two weeks into the new school year were carefully selected to be ethnically representative of Oak View’s student population, which is chiefly Latino and Vietnamese, Principal Joan Buffehr said.

All of the students headed for Golden View, however, are proficient in English, so their new school will not have to broaden its bilingual education program to accommodate them, she said.

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In addition to redistributing the district’s enrollment, officials added, the transfer will expand the cultural diversity of Golden View, a school with a student population last year that was 85% Anglo.

At their new school, the students will also be exposed to an array of educational opportunities not offered at Oak View, such as an extensive arts program and an on-campus farm, home to an assortment of chickens, goats and other animals.

The transfer was engineered this week following a meeting of the schools’ principals, Ocean View School District Supt. Monte McMurray and the parents of the children selected to change schools. The parents were uniformly supportive of the idea, Buffehr said.

Oak View, situated in a densely populated, predominantly Latino neighborhood northwest of Beach Boulevard and Slater Avenue, has seen its enrollment steadily increase in recent years.

The population boom has been caused chiefly by families who continue to flock to the area from their homes in Mexico, Buffehr said.

The enrollment problem has exacerbated the school’s struggle to teach students who come from impoverished families, speak little or no English and have had little schooling, she said.

Such complexities have contributed to Oak View’s perennially low California Assessment Program test scores.

Last year, despite staff efforts that district officials have praised as undauntingly diligent, the school’s third- and sixth-grade scores in reading, writing and math were the lowest in Orange County.

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Meanwhile, students continue to pour into Oak View.

Over the past year, the school’s enrollment has soared by more than 100 students, McMurray said.

In the first week of this school year, an additional 22 pupils were enrolled, raising Oak View’s total to an unprecedented high of 674 students, he said.

“That maxes out that facility,” McMurray said. “If it stayed at that level, the school could handle it fine, but the problem is that the numbers (at Oak View) typically continue to grow throughout the year.”

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In contrast, Golden View reported an enrollment of 340 on the first day of the new school year, 10% lower than district officials’ projections, McMurray said.


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