School board discusses changes, could vote Thursday

By From page A1 | November 14, 2012

FAIRFIELD — A bevy of changes for the Fairfield-Suisun School District were hashed out Tuesday and a vote could happen as early as Thursday.

Tuesday’s special meeting focused solely on a proposal to alter the makeup of several schools and boundaries over the next four years. District trustees will again discuss the possible changes at a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The meeting drew a large crowd, which trustees were vocally thankful of as they weigh their decision. Several in the crowd spoke about the impacts of the possible changes and how they would affect children.

Laurel Creek would change from a K-5 to a K-8 school. That change would require adding an assistant principal and more classrooms. An estimated $3.1 million to $3.8 million would be spent to add classrooms to Laurel Creek, according to reports. That money would come from developer fees, said Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias.

Sheldon and David A. Weir would move from K-6 to K-8. The Program for Effective Relationships and Learning would be moved to Tolenas in that scenario.

Suisun Elementary would offer transitional kindergarten to eighth grade. A total of 11 transitional kindergartens around the district are included in the plan.

Turning B. Gale Wilson into a sixth- to eighth-grade school and sending the K-5 to Suisun Valley is also an option.

The last major change would be adjusting the boundaries of Armijo and Fairfield high schools. Around 500 students would need to be moved into Fairfield High. In this scenario, no existing students would be shifted as incoming freshmen would be the first affected.

Trustees last discussed the changes Nov. 6 and a fresh list of questions from them was provided at the meeting. Cottingim-Dias addressed several of these as the meeting started. She said K-8 schools provide students with a “deep understanding” of topics rather than switching subjects every 45 minutes. She said it also puts the expectations on the older children to act as role models.

Lindsay Nolte said her family moved to Rancho Solano thinking their children would go to B. Gale Wilson for the long haul and was against the idea of breaking up the grade levels. She also voiced her displeasure with having to drive the extra distance to Suisun Valley, if approved.

“It breaks my heart to have to drive by a perfectly good school. What a shame to have us leaving our attendance area,” Nolte told the board. “It makes no sense to me.”

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

Discussion | 7 comments

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  • Glen FaisonNovember 13, 2012 - 10:22 pm

    Due to website maintenance, Daily Republic readers will be unable to comment on articles on the newspaper's website for much of Wednesday morning. The website will still be available to view stories and photos. The ability to comment on stories is expected to be available again by midday.

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  • InterestingNovember 14, 2012 - 11:03 am

    With the FSUSD having such difficult financial times, I believe spending $3.8 million to ONE school is crazy. I guess this is what happens when you close schools without researching the outcome: overcrowded schools, kids being shuttled all over Solano County and a need to "fix" it after only 4 months. I find this comment by Ms. Cottingim-Dias to be totally rediculous, "it also puts the expectations on the older children to act as role models." Is she referring to all of the fighting that the middle schoolers do in front of the K-6 students, the swearing, the PDA, the gangster clothing they wear?? At BGW the quality of students has gone WAY down hill. I would be thrilled if they shut it down!

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  • The SugarJarNovember 14, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    the quality of students? is it something about the school that has made the quality of students go downhill? Is it the students themselves? (in which case the students will still be of downhill quality, just at a different school?) I'm reading frustration in Interesting's comments, but not quite understanding the full context of that frustration.

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  • SobreakitdownformeNovember 14, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    The students at bgw about 5 years ago were respectable young kids. They didn't display quite the disrespect that the kids today are showing. For example, many kids ignore the crosswalk guards and j-walk. Kids are mouthing off to adults just to look tough or something. The kids do look more bumish but that's there personal thing and what's worst are the parents who disobey the laws by parking in a no parking area creating disruption for others who are patiently following the rules. Most of these kids I know live further away from the school zone, you just know.

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  • SobreakitdownformeNovember 14, 2012 - 12:25 pm

    So why are they turning an elementary school into a middle school and turning awaythe the elementary kids to an obsolete route? That makes no sense to me. How about turning Sullivan back to a middle school and turning bgw back into a k-5? I think districting matters also, its causing too many family from further end of town to drive their kids to school and cause traffic congestion. Send your kids closest to their home so most can walk and cut on neighborhood traffic.

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  • CD BrooksNovember 14, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    I am not that familiar with the campus, but why not reopen Sullivan as a High School or at least a Junior High school? That is a huge property and could reduce some of the pressure form Fairfield and Armijo.

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  • InterestingNovember 14, 2012 - 1:08 pm

    I'm sorry, yes, I was very frustrated when I commented. I agree with sobreak...who stated my feelings more elloquently. There is so much disrespect at that school, it is unbelievable. When you see the parents ignoring all of the traffic rules, you understand why their children do not follow the school rules. If you notice, the entrance to the school says, "Elementary" on a large sign. Perhaps they should keep k-5 and reopen Sullivan - why was it closed in the first place...to save money. But now the SD wants to spend millions of dollars on schools to bring in new classrooms. Doesn't make much sense to me. I don't see much of a mention about Susuin Valley, either. Why are they untouchable? If BGW will become a 6-8, then why not SV become a K-5??

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