Fountain Valley school board votes to close Moiola

The Fountain Valley School District board voted unanimously Thursday night to close Fred Moiola K-8 School, despite protests of parents and students who urged the district to spare the campus.

The five-member board's regular meeting was well-attended but mostly subdued. Dozens from the Moiola community have gathered at earlier meetings to voice support for their school.

Thursday, though, just three parents addressed the board before the members voted. Board President Judy Edwards called the decision "one of the toughest things" she has had to do in her years on the board.

The school at 9790 Finch Ave. is scheduled to close July 1. It opened in 1971 and was named after a former Fountain Valley city councilman who died in an airplane crash in 1963.

Outside the boardroom, some parents said they were disappointed by the vote and felt the district and board made their decision irrespective of the community's feelings.

"I just feel the process was deeply flawed," said Michelle Holbrook, a mother of two Moiola students and three others who graduated from there. "And truly, the agenda was set before the plan was put into motion. I don't think we ever stood a chance to keep our school open."

The School Boundary & Closure Committee, a 20-member group of parents, school officials and community members, recommended cutting Moiola to save the district about $375,000 annually. The committee met nine times to determine whether a closure was necessary and which campus would cause the least disruption to the district if it shut down.

The committee used eight criteria — including size, current enrollment and proximity to the closest school — to determine which campus to recommend closing. Moiola met the most criteria. It is the district's only K-8 school site.

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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