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FULLERTON : Kindergarten Classes at Maple Center OKd

Kindergarten classes will open at the Maple Community Center in September, 1995, if the district can meet certain conditions by then, the school board decided last week.

In a 4-1 vote, the board decided to open two kindergarten classes to allow children who live in the Maple area to spend their kindergarten year closer to home, and put an end to 23 years of busing the neighborhood’s youngest schoolchildren.

Seventy-eight children who now attend preschool at the Maple Center would be eligible to enter kindergarten next year, school officials said.

But before the school opens, the Fullerton School District must move a playground away from a busy intersection, add a large forum-like room to the school, finish refurbishing the site and hire a staff at least nine months in advance.

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One of the first items the board will work on is relocating a playground at South Lemon Street and Valencia Drive. At a previous board meeting, a physical education teacher at Laguna Road Elementary School told the board that the playground location is “absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate.”

Teacher Chris Heusser said children “are playing so close to that street. . . . The only thing protecting them from those cars are good drivers and a chain-link fence.”

The board asked Supt. Duncan Johnson to work with the city to immediately relocate the playground to another site on school property. The board also asked Johnson to try to move a large, portable building to the Maple center for the 1994 school year.

The Maple center has no room large enough to accommodate all of the students for schoolwide forums, and the double-wide portable building would meet that purpose.

Johnson said he would also present the school board with a plan for hiring a staff for the new kindergarten by the second board meeting in April.

Although the board voted 4-1 in favor of opening the school, several members expressed their reservations about the price tag of the new school, which is projected at $322,000, and the impact on community services now located at the Maple center. If the school is opened, a high school diploma program, English classes and services for the poor will be eliminated, decreased or moved.


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