The Long beach School District will hold a facilities utilization forum on proposed options for repurposing the elementary schools at the Long Beach High School, 322 Lagoon Dr. W, Lido Beach, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, when parents are expected to submit a petition that effectively calls for keeping East School open for students.
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The idea behind the forum, which was postponed last week due to a snowstorm and will replace a scheduled Board of Education work session, is to make it a community-based meeting instead of a school-based meeting, in order to hear more varied voices on the proposed options, board President Patrick Gallagher told the Long Beach Herald. Gallagher said:
“I’m hoping that the larger community comes out and speaks their mind and expresses their opinion.”
The proposed options were presented at three prior board meetings in November, December and earlier this month. While two of the five options call for repurposing East School as an administrative building, two others would restructure the elementary school grades. One option would keep the status quo but place administration at Lindell School.
The district contends that the options are designed to make more efficient use of the district’s school buildings. At the last meeting, Superintendent David Weiss presented the financial data associated with the options, which are estimated to initially save the district about $1.6 million on a projected $123 million budget.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the school district is expected to receive a petition signed by more than 500 residents asking the school board to vote for keeping the status quo in an effort to keep East School open for classes. The petition reads:
“The proposed school changes will result in a savings of less than one percent of the more than $123 million school budget. Our children and community are worth more than one percent!”
The East School parent who circulated the petition, Sabrina Lomonte, told the Herald that while parents are likely to reiterate concerns voiced at prior meetings, they are likely to raise new issues at Tuesday’s forum, including zoning and construction and the new Superblock proposal to build two buildings with more than 500 apartments, which would bring more tax revenue and children to the district.