Palmdale schools close
Budget cuts hit students and teachers hard
Palmdale, CA – Tears fell from the faces of sad students and teachers when the members of the board at Palmdale School District voted to close Wildflower and Tamarisk Elementary, as well as Mesa Intermediate Schools.
Board member Sandy Corrales-Eneix said at the meeting on Friday, Palmdale School District will stay strong. “We need to make sure we stay a strong district” Corrales-Eneix stressed. “Our focus stays on student achievement. It’s not an accident or surprise that our test scores are going up. We have focused like a laser beam on student achievement that has to continue.”
In having to remain fiscally balanced and maintain as many jobs as possible, PSD representatives say the school closures were the best way to accommodate students and employees. Corrales-Eneix indicated that though the schools will be closed, most employees will continue working and will be dispersed to different schools throughout the district. Students will also move to schools closest to their current residential locations. But the decision was about more than jobs, it was about separating families and friendships.
One student, 12-year-old Andrea Velasco of Mesa Intermediate School, made her voice known during the meeting Friday. “I don’t think it’s justice for them to be closing schools and I don’t think it’s an obligation,” she said wiping away tears. “Most of the teachers are going to lose their jobs, and I don’t want that to happen. We (students) are going to be separated and get new teachers.”
Barbara Overton, a third grade teacher at Wildflower for 13 years, sat in the back of the room shocked and in tears. “I don’t think our concerns were listened to,” Overton lamented. “I feel our family has been destroyed. Our school is a unique school and throughout the Palmdale School District we have sponsored many changes, we have risen above every challenge and met every goal they’ve ever asked of us. To feel thrown away like this is very difficult. I know this was a hard decision for them, though.”
Corrales-Eneix said the schools chosen had everything to do with location rather than test scores or age. Students will continue classes until the end of the semester at both elementary schools, while students will be phased out from Mesa.
More information is available on www.psd.k12.ca.us.
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