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School Plan Raises Concerns Over Safety

GARDEN GROVE | Community News Focus

January 23, 1997|CATHY WERBLIN

A proposal to divide a dozen elementary schools by grade level has raised concern among city officials over the safety of children traveling to school on some of Garden Grove's busiest streets and the potential cost of adding signals and crossing guards.

Deputy City Manager Cathy Standiford said a preliminary analysis by the city of the Garden Grove Unified School District's plan to divide 12 of its 43 schools into so-called "triads" shows that a "significant amount of money" would be needed to get children to school safely.

The proposal would designate some schools for kindergarten through third grade, while others would enroll only fourth- through sixth-graders. All elementary schools in the district are now for kindergarten through sixth grade.

The plan, presented by the Site Utilization Committee, is part of an attempt to reduce class size and accommodate increasing enrollment by clustering the schools.

Standiford said the city is particularly concerned about the grouping of Riverdale, Clinton-Mendenhall and Dwight D. Eisenhower schools and the Ethel M. Evans, Gilbert and Faylane schools.

"These will require elementary kids to cross Fairview Avenue, Brookhurst Street and Chapman Avenue," she said. "None of those streets have pedestrian crossings where the kids will want to cross."

The two other clusters would be Heritage, Rosita and Robert F. Hazard schools and Leo Carrillo, Susan B. Anthony and Thomas Paine schools.

Bob Hardin, president of the Board of Education, said the city's concerns have been echoed by some parents, and transportation is a legitimate concern.

"We don't want to put kids in an unsafe position," Hardin said. "It seems that every one of these sites has at least one transportation issue."

Until now, the city has absorbed most of the costs of providing crosswalks and crossing guards.

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