Parents, teachers fight for 3 Simi Valley schools to stay open


Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Justin Elementary are three schools in the Simi Valley Unified School District with declining enrollment. The school board is considering whether to close the schools in order to save $600,000 annually, but not before a special committee gathers community input.

Parents and teachers addressed the committee, making a case for why each school should stay open. Audra Steele is a teacher at Justin Elementary and her children attend the school.

"It's been very dramatic. It's been very hectic at our house. They understand that I'm going to meetings but it's very difficult for them to comprehend exactly what's going on," said Steele.

The committee on Thursday voted to recommend keeping Lincoln open, and closing Mountain View and Justin.

Long-time teachers say they don't know where they'll be transferred to if Justin Elementary closes. The school has only 225 students, and Mountain View has only 209.

Educators say instead of closing the schools, the district should move its headquarters to a spacious school site and sell the building.

"This property is prime location. The car dealers want it. It's very valuable and that would solve much more of their problem," said teacher Mary Lawrence.

Before the board votes on the recommendations, there are four hearings planned next month. Parents and teachers opposed to the closures plan to make their voices heard.

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