The Huntington Beach City School District Board of Trustees had a study session meeting on September 11, 2018. The subject fell under the District Facility Master Plan. The Board discussed the potential sale of either Sowers or Gisler and the process for establishing a 7-11 Committee. In addition, the Board discussed the potential sale of Perry Elementary School due to declining enrollment. The Board asked administration to move forward with phase 2 of the surplus land sale process (Sowers or Gisler) with the potential of selling the school sites off.
Is Enrollment Really Down?
The California Department of Education web sits shows the current enrollment for Perry for 2017-18 school year at 373 students with the other programs this bring the total to 461 students.
How long has Perry has been a target for closure?
It appears discussion about closing Perry has been ongoing long before the September 11th meeting.
From the District’s approved minutes from the June 2018:
A-88 Amendment #4 to Architectural Services Agreement for Measure Q Phase 1 Capital Improvement Projects
Prior to Board approval, one member from the public questioned why fencing estimates for Sowers Middle School and Perry Elementary School were left out.
On the motion of Mrs. Kaub, seconded by Mrs. Sullivan, and carried 4-0, the Board of Trustees approved for amendment #4 to the Agreement for Architectural Services between the Huntington Beach City School District and BCA Architects to provide architectural services and specialty consultant services for Safety/Security Projects at multiple sites and a Dwyer Middle School Seat Wall.
Does the pubic support the Board’s direction?
There is growing grassroots opposition to the closure and/or sale of Perry. Several residents have spoken out against the closure at the School Board meetings.
What will happen if Perry is sold?
If Perry is closed there will be numerous negative effects felt by everyone.
Increased class size
The children attending Perry will be divided up among the Seacliff, Petersen and Smith. Can they handle the increase? They are already using numerous portables.
Furthermore, class size will increase, reducing the quality of education for everyone.
Permanent school loss
One of the greatest problems is the permanent loss of a facility. Without arguing over the merits of the low enrollment, if later years see an increased need for schools, the sold land cannot be recovered for a school. Any sale is permanent.
Local home values may drop
Homes that were within walking distance to a local school now require children to be driven several miles away. This affects their value.
Increased traffic and density
If sold, the land will probably be developed into more homes increasing traffic and congestion.