Talks of Norwalk-La Mirada schools set to potentially close

Budget issues, low enrollment and COVID-19 all contribute to possible closings.

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Photo by: Wiki Commons

Kianna Znika and Edgar Mendoza

Following periods of low enrollment, in part due to home and private schooling, the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District has begun looking to consolidate schools, shutting those with low enrollment down permanently.

Several schools, including DD Johnson, have been considered for consolidation, with parents and the community coming out in opposition to the closing of any schools.

As an anonymous source states, ” I feel that closing schools, we do need it. But I feel it’s not the right time right now because of this pandemic. Right now I don’t think it’s the right time to do consolidating of the schools. As a parent, I would ask to wait.”

Some schools such as DD Johnson have started a petition to stop their school from closing, with over 1,600 people rallying to show their support.

Reasons behind the petition include the fact that DD Johnson is one of few schools to have a dedicated special needs program, which seems to have not been taken into account when considering which schools to consolidate.

Josie Aguila, who initially created the petition to save DD Johnson, states “it’s not the only school that’s being potentially closed, it’s one in five elementaries. The reason is because they are restructuring, and there’s not enough students. They need to close some of the schools and have them go to other ones.”

The schools that will be consolidated will not close until the next academic year, seeing as the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented students from attending classes in person for the foreseeable future.

Ana Galindo, an eight-year resident of Norwalk, stated, “It freaks me out. I feel like we had finally built our home there [Johnson]. Everything revolves around their schooling. We decided to come back to norwalk, and everything was based on where they felt comfortable.”

She went on to address her worries as a parent, stating “my main concern is, honestly, because we were there and we like it so much and it’s the only dual school.

“This throws our plan off. What happens now with the elementary? And my girls are barely starting. And also where we live it would be far to walk to another school and there’s only one car at a home. It’s a longer distance to go to school and having to move the girls around. I don’t think it’s fair. Are we going to jam other school’s classrooms? What are the kids going to take from it? Kids had to be pulled out for individual attention. Going to another school that already has enough students is a main concern. Big classes with just one teacher.”

Many parents share these concerns, and it remains to be seen just how much of an impact these petitions and meetings will have on the decisions made by the district.

The final decision in regards to closure is expected to arrive in a matter of weeks, and regular updates will follow as more information becomes available.