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Parents Say Possible School Closure About More than Under Enrollment

SACRAMENTO-

Maple Elementary, a school where Latino children are the majority is one of the 11 schools slated to close.

During a meeting with the Sacramento City Unified School District, parents and students protested while the district said they are running below capacity.

“Unfortunately, we are in a fiscal crisis and we have to match the number of schools we have with the number of schools we serve,” said SCUSD spokesman Gabe Ross.

But many ask why schools like Maple?

According to sociology expert Jesus Hernandez, nine of the school closures are in south Sacramento, an area where a halfway house for parolees is being considered to go up and many families are low income.

“When you start closing these schools and build halfway houses for felons there is no way to reboot these areas economically,” said Hernandez.

“If we are making money for the district and students are learning, then what is the real reason we are closing. Is it political,” said community member Jodie Collins.

Hernandez says Maple is located where one in five families has a vehicle, meaning most depend on their feet to get to school.

“I always talk to my kids’ teachers. I always help. I always volunteer like other moms. How am I going to walk everyday to help my kids teacher,” said parent Alma Alcala.

The district says all kids from Maple would be bused to their new school and class sizes would remain the same.

“In a larger school, families have larger resources, more academic support, more after school programs,” said Ross .

For others, it is more than logistics. To them, schools like Maple are a landmark of education and hope.