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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Reorganization Plan for Schools Outlined

A committee of teachers and administrators has recommended that the Ocean View School District be reorganized to separate its elementary and middle schools.

Proponents of the concept, which would create kindergarten-through-fifth-grade schools and sixth-through-eighth-grade schools, say it would enhance educational programs, particularly for middle school students. Currently, the district’s 17 schools are either K-6 or K-8.

The district organizational committee, made up of representatives from each school, favored the elementary/middle school proposal over two alternatives: retaining the current system or implementing a system including K-6 elementary schools and seventh- and eighth-grade middle schools.

The recommendation has been forwarded to the district’s 40-member Master Planning Committee, made up of administrators, teachers, parents and other district residents.

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That committee was asked to come up with a comprehensive district reconfiguration plan, which may include closing some schools. The Master Planning Committee was formed a year ago, mainly to propose a school realignment that would save the district money.

This year’s school board, which includes three members who were newly elected in November, has stressed that it wants to emphasize improving educational programs more than budget-cutting measures.

The Master Planning Committee’s final plan figures to be among the most pivotal issues the Board of Trustees will consider this school year.

Last year’s committee recommended a plan that called for three schools to be closed. Trustees, faced with an outcry from hundreds of angry parents, voted last June to delay action on the proposal for a year.

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In doing so, the board rolled over a budget deficit estimated to be more than $1 million into the 1990-91 school year, a fiscal matter that is yet to be resolved.

Neither district officials nor committee members have said whether school closures will be included in this year’s plan. A separate district effort to desegregate two predominantly Latino schools, however, has produced a recommendation that would close Crest View Elementary School.

Parents and other district residents will be encouraged to voice their opinions on the Master Planning Committee’s plan once it is finalized, Supt. Monte McMurray said.

A series of neighborhood meetings to discuss the issue will be scheduled in late February and early March, and the school board has tentatively planned public hearings on the final plan for March 12 and 19, McMurray said.

The board is expected to vote on the committee’s plan after the second hearing, he said.


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