More time given for discussions of school closure

The Del Mar Union School District voted to set a longer schedule for its “7-11 Committee” to explore the possibility of closing a district school to help solve budgetary struggles.

“The longer timeline gives us the opportunity to have the kind of research we need and to be really prepared,” Superintendent Sharon McClain said.

Before the DMUSD Board of Trustees’ April 15 meeting, the decision on whether or not to close a campus for the 2009-10 school year was scheduled to come by June.

But McClain and the trustees said the committee should have more time to study such an important decision.

“If you close a school, that’s a death, in a way, to a community, and we need to be sensitive to that,” McClain said.

The selected timeline will give the committee until December to come to the board with its recommendations on school closures. The schedule will include five to eight meetings and two public hearings.

No school site is being specifically targeted for closure, according to Rodger Smith, director of facilities planning. The 7-11 Committee will study whether it is necessary to close a campus and then, if it gets to that point, to look at which would make the most sense to close.

The school board will select the committee members from 30 applicants. The committee’s name comes from a law requiring that such a group be made up of no less than seven and no more than 11 members.

Applicants come from across the district and represent community members, business owners, parents and teachers.