By Monica Rodriguez Staff Writer
Created: 05/12/2011 05:03:44 PM PDT

POMONA – Members of the Pomona Unified School District Board of Education put off making a decision on the proposed closure of Mendoza Elementary School this week.

Some school board members said they wanted more details on the proposed closure that would result in the transfer of Mendoza students to nearby Lopez Elementary.

Board members also wanted an opportunity for parents to have details and a say on how a transition would be carried out.

“I want to have parents’ ideas on how the schools can be joined,” said school board President Adrienne Konigar-Macklin after the meeting.

Details on matters such as the mergers of the two staffs, school site councils and other topics should be discussed, she said.

“These are all things we need to work out,” Konigar-Macklin said.

Three parents spoke to board members about the proposed transfer and closure at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Among them was Esmeralda Pulido, a Mendoza parent, who opposes the proposal and the concept of using the Mendoza campus as a new home for students of Park West High School.

“I have a nothing against the students at Park West” High School and added “they are fine where they are. Why bring them to Mendoza?”

Pulido questioned if Lopez can be prepared to provide appropriate facilities to accommodate Mendoza students in time for the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

“I want you to plan more carefully,” Pulido said.

Krystal Gonzalez, another Mendoza parent, said she was among hundreds of parents concerned about the possible closure of Mendoza.

“What is your interest? The economics or students?” she asked.

Superintendent Richard Martinez said during the meeting that in the current financial climate the district can’t afford to operate both of the campuses.

Mendoza is a pre-K through third grade campus and Lopez, which opened in 2007 with the goal of being a pre-K to eighth grade campus, is now serving fourth through sixth graders.

Already the majority of students at Mendoza go on to Lopez where many have siblings, Martinez said.

Closing Mendoza will allow the district to reduce costs.

Konigar-Macklin said the district is not in a position to keep both campuses running.

“It’s just not feasible but I understand change is difficult for people,” she said after the meeting.

Board member Roberta Perlman said after the meeting she’d like district personnel to hold a meeting with parents and give them more details related to student and teacher transfers and other matters parents are worried about.

“I think those are very legitimate concerns,” Perlman said. “If we address those I think it would facilitate the transition for families.”

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