PASADENA (CBSLA) – Amid declining enrollment numbers, the Pasadena Unified School Board voted Thursday to close three elementary schools at the end of the school year.

The board late Thursday night voted by a narrow 4-3 margin to close Franklin, Jefferson and Roosevelt elementary schools.

Jefferson Elementary School in Pasadena. Sept. 27, 2019. (CBS2)

“School consolidation, closures, is the most difficult thing a school board member has to do,” PUSD Board President Lawrence Torres told the audience Thursday night.

For the 2020-21 academic year, Franklin students will be asked to move to Altadena Elementary, Jefferson students will be moved to Longfellow Elementary, and Roosevelt students will be asked to transfer to Madison Elementary, according to the Pasadena-Star News.

“I don’t like the whole change for her, you know, when I was a kid, we went to one elementary school, and then you went to one middle school, and we wanted that stability for her,” parent Graciela Gallegos told CBS2 Friday.

In a letter posted Tuesday, PUSD Superintendent Dr. David Verdugo said the proposal was spurred by lower enrollment and budgetary issues.

“To deepen student access to PUSD’s academic programs while facing head on the challenges of lower enrollment and long-term fiscal stability, this week the Board of Education’s Master Plan/Boundary Subcommittee, with the support of the Superintendent’s Executive Leadership Team, will present recommendations to concentrate our resources in fewer schools,” Verdugo wrote.

The district also pointed to lower birthrates and rising housing costs as contributing to the lower enrollment.

Jefferson Elementary School Office Manager Ana Carias was heartbroken Friday as she described the experience of leaving the school she’s worked at for more than 30 years.

“We supposed to be open, we’re supposed to stay open, but the district decided this, and I don’t think it’s fair for our students,” a tearful Carias said.

On Thursday, meanwhile, Swiss-based global education company EF Education First held a groundbreaking ceremony in Pasadena for a new boarding school which will open in 2020. EF Academy will serve nearly 1,000 students, according to the company. It will be located at 1605 E. Elizabeth St., the former 16-acre site belonging to William Carey International University.

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