Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Fairfield-Suisun schools switch wins OK

By
From page A5 | January 17, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A projected 284 sixth-graders will move to Green Valley Middle School in the 2015-16 school year as part of a proposal that won unanimous approval Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

The decision came after several parents said they wanted to keep Nelda Mundy Elementary a K-6 school and raised questions about how well the school district publicized the new plan.

“Eleven-year-olds don’t belong with 14-year-olds,” Marilyn Sweeney, a Nelda Mundy parent, told trustees.

Greg Peterson, parent of two children at the elementary school, said the change seemed unnecessary and that he only learned of the proposal Thursday.

“I’m not sure how this slipped under the radar,” he said.

Parent Susan Valdes asked for proof of the benefits of the change and said the community concerns should be recognized.

“We pay a lot of taxes,” she said. “It would nice to have our voices heard.”

Trustee Kathleen Marianno said the school board conducted a two-hour study session in November about the proposal.

“I don’t know why the surprise,” she said of concerns about adequate notice by the school district.

The move to Green Valley Middle School, said Trustee Perry Polk, will involve students going to a new site but attending classes with others they know. Trustee John Silva said the school board has to consider the entire Fairfield-Suisun School District.

“What we look at,” he said, “is the overall picture.”

Projected transfers to Green Valley include 131 children from Nelda Mundy and 109 from Cordelia Hills Elementary.

Parent Laura Kurtz, who told trustees she opposed the proposal and that “it seems your concern is an issue of size and money,” said after the school board vote that almost 300 people signed a petition opposing the change. Students, parents and teachers are pawns in a game, she said.

District Superintendent Kris Corey has said the recommendation to convert Oakbrook Elementary to a K-8 elementary and change Cordelia Hills and Nelda Mundy into K-5 schools came to trustees after a great deal of consideration. The initial discussion on this change started more than four years ago, Corey said.

“Everything from traffic to educational performance was considered in our recommendation,” the superintendent said. “We also reviewed various school districts throughout the county and neighboring counties to see what configurations exist. Ours is the only district with both K-5 and K-6 schools.”

Advantages include mirroring how Common Core State Standards are organized as well as better balancing populations of elementary and middle schools, the superintendent had said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • S. HaralsonJanuary 17, 2014 - 1:09 pm

    Leave it to the powers that be to make unnecessary changes at the best school in the district. We may be the only district to have both K-5 and K-6, but is the goal really to make Mundy more like other schools in the area? What is so horrible about successful kids at a successful school that this non-conformity "problem" needs to be addressed? Another step toward mediocrity for all our kids in the interest of school size and dollar allocations for the district.

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  • Judy ButlerJanuary 17, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    Very disappointing! I would like to learn more FACTS on how this will help "the overall picture" from the school board. Other districts are doing it is not a sufficient answer. Breaking up success is not a solution to solving a problem in my opinion.

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  • Annette ThurmanJanuary 17, 2014 - 11:24 pm

    More than disappointed... Shocked and appalled that even when presented with compelling data and studies which show that the K-5 format is both inferior and declining in structure, the board with little care or consideration for the Students and Community voted unanimously for such a change. FSUSD board... You speak of wanting to offer options, K-6 is an option. And you justify your decision by saying you need to finish what was started more than 4 years ago as a shift in the Regions educational structure. I call that laziness, as if you cared to really evaluate the situation and do what was right for the Students, you might have found it better to change course before you truly run the ship aground. What a shame for these Children that we didn't do better by them. Oh - and thanks for the TWO messages today letting me know there is a board meeting next week to discuss the upcoming budget. One might think that you may have sent out a similar message to the community for such a significant change to a set of schools structure, but you didn't. I wonder why.....

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  • C R BurchamJanuary 18, 2014 - 8:23 am

    You are supposed to be the voice of the people in your community, unfortunately I find that you are not going to the community to get the opinions of the citizens that put you into office. More information needs to be given as to why this is a good change for the district. The needs of the children should be taken into consideration especially since so much of the other core development items have been taken away. Stop making our children grow up too fast.

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  • Marilyn SweeneyJanuary 20, 2014 - 10:53 am

    I'm still sticking with what I said in the context of taking the 6th grade elementary class and placing it with the middle school of 7th and 8th graders. There's something to be said for all that is dealt with in middle school for kids in general and placing these younger kids in that category. To add this, they get thrown into the 9th grade as freshmen with kids that are a bit to adult like. ---------Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, involving brain scans at regular intervals, show that the brain continues to grow and develop into young adulthood (at least to the mid-twenties).---------- Child Welfare Information gateway.Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development (2007). As I overheard a board member make reference to another board member, "There's a bubble coming through", I'm thinking about this --------- In 2007, the total number of births registered in the United States was 4,316,233, 1 percent more than in 2006 (4,265,555). This is the highest number of births ever reported for the United States, surpassing the peak of the postwar baby boom (1957) (5). According to preliminary data for 2008, however, births decreased 2 percent from 2007. -----Martin, A. et al. (2010)national vital statistics reports. Birth final date 2007. 58(24) -----------THIS MEANS A LOT OF KIDS FOR A FEW YEARS! A few alternatives: (1) We remove the stigma of throwing young kids into middle school to soon e.g. Davis JUSD k-6, middle school 7,8,9 and high-school 10,11, and 12. (2) Enhance the k-8 option to a top-notch school (3) create a charter school. As I see it our children are suffering based on business decisions. I hope that as a community we can continue to be involved in our children's school and classrooms more and more. My little girl is a 1st grader, and as everyone is aware there are so many students in one class. All in all, I was surprised at the end of the meeting to hear that Ms. Cherry will be leaving Nelda Mundy and going to Green valley Middle School. However, she has done a lot to make Nelda Mundy the school that it is, and I commend and hope that this will prove very beneficial and the changes that are being made voted to be approved. Marilyn Sweeney

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