Covina School Closure Announcement Angers Parents

COVINA (CBSLA.com) – The news that a Covina elementary school is slated to close at the end of the academic year due to declining enrollment in the district was greeted by mixed emotions at a parent-teacher association meeting Thursday night.

Parents said they were informed by their children this week that Lark Ellen Elementary School would be shuttering at the end of the school year.

“For the parents to find out through their kids, it’s like, c’mon,” parent Rafael Labra Hernandes told KCAL9 Thursday night. “A lot of kids came home crying, upset. It’s like, what’s going on?”

Hernandes said his son gave him the news before he received an official letter from the Covina-Valley Unified School District.

“It’s a tragedy what they’re trying to do,” parent Meggan Bronner said.

District Superintendent Dr. Richard Sheehan met with parents Wednesday night to explain the situation. He told KCAL9 by phone Thursday that, following meeting, both he and the district board are now reconsidering which school to close. In a statement to CBS2, Sheehan wrote:

“The tough decision to repurpose an elementary school is based on declining enrollment in the district. Relocating students is always a difficult decision. But unfortunately, the governor’s budget makes a move at this time necessary. In just the past three years, the schools in that area have lost approximately twenty percent of their student enrollment.”

Sheehan said the district is looking at future enrollment trends in making its decision.

Meanwhile, parents believe Lark Ellen should not be closed down because their test scores are higher and their neighborhood is safer than some of the schools in other areas.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Hernandes said.

Bronner argued that several generations of her family have come through Lark Ellen. She doesn’t want to see that tradition come to an end.

“My daughter should be walking down the halls next year graduating, and she’ll be the first gone of our girls not to do that,” Bronner said.

Sheehan and the board are expected to have a final decision by April.

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