Mudslide risk may have prevented school closure

Mudslide risk may have prevented school closure

When Duarte resident Doug Jones first heard that the Duarte Unified School District could be closing an elementary school, he says he couldn’t believe it. He had known that declining school enrollment was causing financial trouble, but the possibility that his daughter’s school could be closed seemed remote.

“I didn’t realize how quickly they were moving to close schools down,” Jones said.

Luckily for Jones and other parents at Duarte schools, this Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting could put an end to such a possibility. Superintendent Allan Mucerino will recommend to the Board of Education that no elementary schools be closed.

According to Duarte Unified Spokeswoman Jenny Owen, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works notified the City of Duarte any construction on the Valley View Elementary School property would increase the risk of mudslides, due to the Fish Fire in July. The fires increase mudslide risk, and construction would further compromise the Valley View property. Owen said that Public Works recommended a moratorium on constructions there.

Owen said that the recommended moratorium would stop Valley View’s conversion to a K-8 school. This would go on to hamper all student relocation plans, if an elementary school were closed. Owen also stressed that no decision has been made on the situation, in any capacity.

For that reason, the Superintendent will recommend against closures on Thursday night. The Board will then discuss the recommendation. If they choose to make any actions, it will be on the agenda at the next School Board meeting, on Oct. 13.

The public will also have a chance to voice their concerns on Thursday night, immediately following the Superintendent’s recommendation.

Although the possibility of school closures may soon become a distant memory, Jones still plans on attending the meeting. The experience with potential school closures has galvanized him, and he hopes he’s not alone.

“I hope people are willing to become more educated,” Jones said. “And I’m hoping that we can keep our schools open.”

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