Fountain Valley committee looks into closing school

The Fountain Valley School District has formed a committee to look into closing a school as the district attempts to cut expenses.

Stephen McMahon, assistant superintendent for business, said administrators formed the School Boundaries & Closure Committee earlier this year and began hosting meetings in late March.

The 20-member committee, which consists of parent representatives from each site, community members and school officials, meets every two weeks and is expected to make a recommendation to the school board by September.

The district would save about $400,000 a year by shutting down a campus, McMahon said.

"All schools are facing cutbacks in funding, so we want to make sure we're doing things as efficiently as possible," he said.

The committee's next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the district board room at 10055 Slater Ave., Fountain Valley.

McMahon said if the district opted to close a school, it would almost definitely be an elementary campus and would close after the 2011-12 school year. The district has seven elementary schools and three middle schools in addition to Fred Moiola K-8 School.

"Our first goal will be to give people information and then decide if they want to close a school at all, so that'll be our first vote," he said. "We're not naming a school or anything."

The district has closed nearly a dozen schools over the years due to budget reasons, he said.

Julia Lynch, a Moiola parent and committee member, said an alternative would be rezoning schools to adjust the number of students per campus. She added that she sensed most committee members wanted to avoid closing a site.

"It's a big concern, only because I believe the need hasn't come at this point in time to see a school get closed," Lynch said. "The committee is supposed to be evaluating information to determine if there will even be a closure. There's always the possibility there will not be one, but the committee starts with that information first."

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