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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Hacienda La Puente : School Closure Plan Shelved

April 29, 1993

A proposal to close two schools in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District to help balance an $88-million budget has been shelved under pressure from parents and three school board members.

As part of a $2.2-million package of spending cuts, the Board of Education last week considered closing 325-student Wedgeworth Elementary School and 500-student Orange Grove Middle School to save $500,000. A large number of parents quickly voiced outrage at the proposal.

As a result, schools Supt. Andrew A. Cazares said Tuesday that, rather than close the campuses, the board will establish a committee to seek community views on restructuring the district, including the closure of some schools by September, 1994.

"Three board members wanted to go this routine," Cazares said.

"The (rejected school closure) proposal sent a very strong message that we can no longer afford the number of small schools we have," he added.

The district, which serves Hacienda Heights and La Puente, has 21,727 students at 23 elementary schools, five middle schools and five high schools.

Cazares said the district will have to get the $500,000 it hoped to save from other proposed cuts, including laying off non-teaching staff, eliminating one administrator at each school, enlarging the size of high school classes and increasing student bus fees.

Budget hearings are scheduled May 13 and 18.

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