ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) — Some East Bay parents are doing what they can to keep their children’s middle school open.
Last month, students made signs and protested the closing, and now a group of parents are adding their voices by creating a proposal to delay the vote to close the school.
Martin Medeiros and Neil Dandavati are leading the effort. They said the school has changed their kids’ lives. “They’ve thrived here,” said Medeiros.
“What really drew us here is it’s a community school. The only K-8 in the district and it happens to also be the number one performing school in the district. It’s a California Distinguished School,” said Dandavati.
Judi Stanton is also one of the leading organizers. Her daughter does not attend the middle school yet but was scheduled to start in the fall.
“Really choose this place because their students were neurodiverse or had other disabilities or vulnerabilities that made other schools not an option for them. This was a safe space for those kids and as a parent that was important to me,” said Stanton.
The district said the closure is because of low enrollment. Many of the parents are upset because they found out about the closure five weeks ago.
“I’m a member of the school council here, which oversees how funds are distributed. I meet with the principal monthly and I had no idea about this proposal until after the January 10 board meeting. I was very shocked,” said Dandavati.
The group met with the superintendent Monday afternoon where they explained their proposal for the school to wait. “The Department of Education has a guide of how to close a school, none of which has been followed,” said Mederios.
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The California Board of Education suggests that the decision to close a school should be based on facts gathered by an independent committee, not the board, ideally with members of the community involved. It also suggests that the district should consider alternatives to closing the school.
The Bay Farm Parent Teacher Student Association polled parents about the closure. Nearly two-thirds said they didn’t have enough time to find a new school for next year. Slightly more said Bay Farm Middle School played a factor in their choice to move to the area.
“I wish we could just pause and do a real analysis,” said Stanton.
The vote will take place at Tuesday’s school board meeting set to start at 6:30 p.m.