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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Crest View School May Face Closure

The board of the Ocean View School District this week took its first step toward a reorganization plan that probably would close Crest View School at the end of the school year.

Trustees adopted criteria for identifying racially isolated schools under which Oak View School and Crest View’s middle-school grades must be desegregated before the 1991-92 school year.

District officials said the move will prompt further study into a conceptual desegregation plan proposed last month by district staff and consultants.

That plan calls for Crest View’s seventh- and eighth-grade students to be transferred to other schools. Removing those students from the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus would reduce the school’s enrollment to about half the district average, making it a leading candidate for closure, officials said.

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Designating Crest View’s middle school students as racially imbalanced “clearly positions Crest View for closure,” Assistant Supt. Paul Mercier said.

“But,” he added, “I do not believe Crest View automatically will be closed . . . or that this plan will be limited to just that closure.”

The adopted criteria, under which schools with more than 48% or less than 8% ethnic minority students are considered to be segregated, is the basis of the district’s ongoing effort to correct its schools’ racial imbalances to comply with state law.

The integration-based reorganization was prompted by last year’s enrollment figures that showed 86% of Oak View’s students are ethnic minorities, including 70% Latinos.

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Based upon that enrollment report, 68% of Crest View’s middle-school students are minority students.

Under the proposed reorganization, Oak View would become a magnet center for the district’s incoming limited-English-speaking students.

The desegregation issue in recent months has become intertwined with the district’s continuing budget-cutting reorganization study, which last June culminated in a proposal to close Golden View, Haven View and Lake View schools. Board members voted to postpone those closures for at least a year.

The board is scheduled next spring to consider the sweeping budget and integration questions posed by reorganization. Three newly elected trustees join the board next month.


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