OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Oceanside Unified School District voted to close Reynolds Elementary after the school was being evaluated for a modernization project when testing showed that the campus was unsafe.
It’s been a long-fought battle to keep Reynolds Elementary open, parents say, but all that came to an end last night. The closures leaves many with uncertainty and mixed emotions.
This follows a three to one vote in a special school board meeting to close its doors for good, Monday night.
“I don’t think I’m willing to keep my kids in the Oceanside Unified School District, ” parent Acucena Correa said.
Nick Thomas was just one out of many frustrated parents there during the vote, calling the decision “disheartening” and one that’s “…giving us zero trust in the board.”
Two of Thomas’ kids attend the school and woke up Tuesday to a new reality.
“Sad to put it bluntly. They’re asking questions about what happens to their friends, what happens to their teachers. I think for everyone especially at this age level, it’s still fresh, the COVID reintroduction to society and to school and things of that nature and pulling them away from their friends and what they’re used to once again is going to be damaging,” Thomas said.
Israel Lamadrid, while more optimistic, says he moved to the area last year and chose Reynolds Elementary specifically for its Spanish-speaking program.
“…They are going to continue the program but do at separate schools to include bringing the same kids to the same classrooms,” Lamadrid explained.
District officials are backing their decision, citing test results showing poor soil conditions, which can also put the current building at risk if an earthquake were to occur.
“I’m glad they actually said something because I’d prefer my kid to be safe versus the convenience of having to walk or not walk, I’d rather them be safe,” Lamadrid said.
Some parents we talked to believe there’s more to the story.
“I think it’s a convenient truth, so to say, I think the risk is very low. There are three other schools, two of which that they’re suggesting sending our kids to school. Those schools are in the same floodplain and the same liquefaction zone of the state of California,” Thomas said.
Students looking to stay within school boundaries have the option of attending Del Rio Elementary, but parents worry another closure could happen down the block.
“I am worried. I don’t want them to go from one school to another where it’s the same issue,” Lamadrid shared when asked if he was worried about the potential for more closures backed by similar reasons.
In response, the Oceanside Unified School District shared this statement with FOX 5:
“After careful consideration, on March 13, 2023, the Board of Education of the Oceanside Unified School District voted to close Reynolds Elementary School effective June 2023. It has been determined that the soil’s condition at Reynolds Elementary is not suitable for the planned construction. Tests revealed soil liquefaction. Soil liquefaction is a loss of ground strength that causes the soil to temporarily behave like a liquid. During an earthquake this could cause buildings to sink and incur other damages.
The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority both for those attending now and in the future. We know that everyone had their hearts set on modernizing this campus and understand the disappointment the community may be feeling.
The Board of Education will meet again to discuss additional results from ground testing at Del Rio, school boundaries for Reynolds students, and the placement of programs. This meeting will be on: Thursday, March 23rd, 6pm, Chávez Middle School – 202 Oleander Dr. “Oceanside Unified School District
The statement from the district, which also offers additional support for students and their families, went on to say that no Reynolds staff member will lose their job, but rather will be relocated to other schools within the district.
Officials also say a full time on site counselor is available to support the emotional needs of students.