Following a school district announcement in March that Fair Oaks Community School would close after this school year due to declining enrollment, concerned families pushed back and ultimately won the chance to keep their school open.
At the Redwood City School District board meeting April 25, the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to allow the school 2950 Fair Oaks Ave. to remain open for one more year as long as it can meet certain conditions, including that a minimum of 200 students be registered by May 15. Previous to that decision, parents began actively protesting the closure decision, including speaking out at the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meeting, according to an in depth report of their efforts by KALW public radio.
The school’s families successfully met the deadline for registrations, according to a notice from Superintendent John Baker posted to Facebook on May 11.
“I write to congratulate you and to thank you for the role that you have recently taken as the biggest cheerleaders and leaders for Fair Oaks Community School,” Baker wrote, adding, “You met this condition and you achieved it well before the May 15 deadline. You should be very proud of this achievement. We are.”
The battle to keep the school open isn’t over, as more conditions must be met per an agreement with the district. Other conditions require that a minimum of 200 eligible students be attending the school before Aug. 31, 2018. The school’s attendance rate, currently the district’s lowest at 86-percent, must also improve to the district average of 96-percent. The conditions require organized parent involvement in achieving the stated goals.
The school district says it is working with Fair Oaks families to meet the conditions. Baker said the district will “continue to review the numbers to make sure that we remain fiscally responsible while operating Fair Oaks.”
About 180 students are enrolled this year at the school, down from just under 500 in the 2008-9 school year, according to the district. Before earning a chance to stay open, the district projected the student population to drop to below 150, prompting the March decision to close the school. With state funding tied to school attendance, the district said it wouldn’t be fiscally responsible to keep the school open. At the time, the district had planned to transfer Fair Oaks students to one of three larger neighboring schools: Garfield Community School, Hoover Community School or Taft Community School, and also to consolidate a charter school’s operations on the Fair Oaks campus.
Photo courtesy of the Fair Oaks Community School Facebook page.