Due to budget cuts, a loss of funding and a decrease in enrollments, Fair Oaks Community School and Taft Elementary School will be combined into one campus, and Adelante and Selby Lane Spanish Immersion programs will become one starting the next school year.
At the new combined Adelante and Selby Lane, they will have the immersion program and a transitional kindergarten through fifth-grade school. The middle schoolers with be transferred to Kennedy Middle School.
Orion will be moved to John Gill Elementary School, and Hawes students will be dispersed between Henry Ford, Roosevelt and other schools throughout the district.
Because of this, roughly 1,900 students will be forced to transfer and find a new school. The Superintendent Advisory Council, consisting of representatives of all 16 schools, looked at data, budget, schools with wait lists, boundaries and campus sizes to determine which schools will close.
In the last year, the RCSD has lost about 4 million dollars due the declining enrollment.
“The declining enrollment has happened for two reasons,” Trustee Alisa MacAvoy said. “Some of the kids have left to the three charter schools in our district, and the money follows the kids when they leave. We also have some who have left the area because of the high cost of living.”
To compensate for the loss of enrollments, the District implemented budget cuts that are expected to save
$580,000 by vacating the Fair Oaks campus and around $910,000 a year from merging Adelante and Selby Lane’s Spanish Immersion programs. The district is also expected to save $750,00 with staff cuts.
The money saved and gained from these cuts are going to be used to fund more enrichment, programs and classes for the schools remaining open.
Many people in the communities where schools are shut down are outraged by the board’s decision.
“People are handing out flyers to protest [combining the Spanish Immersion program with Adelante and transferring the middle schoolers to Roosevelt],” said freshman Angela Soria, who went to Selby Lane and has two siblings that currently attend the school.
For current and former students of Adelante, this merger was also a negative adjustment.
“[Adelante closing was] disappointing for me just because I have a personal attachment to [the school], I went there for a really long time, seven years, and it’s just like a home away from home,” senior Alison Barrientos said.
Some schools, including Hawes Elementary School, their community is in shock as this news came without warning.
“[There was] no warning. They had a PTA meeting but my mom couldn’t go because she had to work,” freshman Viviana Osorio said. “[My family is] actually really sad because my brother receives help and he loves going to the tutoring program they have.”
Roughly 570 Hawes students with be dispersed between Henry Ford, Roosevelt and other schools in the District, due to the lack of enrollments.
To help smooth out the transition process, the District has given these displaced students a priority in the upcoming school year.
“At the school sites that [are closing], anyone impacted by these changes will have the first choice in the schools of choice program,” MacAvoy said. “Then, [they will] open up the schools of choice to everyone.”
Additionally, the district is making efforts to help the students build connections with one another.
“There are already conversations about the younger kids having play dates and social opportunities for some of the older kids so they can get to know each other,” MacAvoy said.
Although the communities of the schools closing are struggling to accept these changes, the district is doing all they can to make this transition easy for the families.