School Board Member Says
Save Emeryville's Elementary School
Emery School Board Member Christian Patz is engaging in a public campaign to allow Emeryville's contested elementary school, Anna Yates, to remain open and to continue to serve Emeryville's children, a contrary position to a decision made by the Board in November 2012 to close the school and move the children over to the Emeryville Center of 'Community' Life (ECCL) site on San Pablo Avenue scheduled for fall 2016.
Mr Patz, a new Board member, indicated the ECCL site is too small for a Kindergarten through 12th grade school and the District needs to concentrate on increasing enrollment to alleviate budget shortfalls, an impossibility at the ECCL site. Additionally Board member Patz says Emery is suffering from a lack of a middle school, a critical ingredient for effective education according to experts in pedagogical study. Board member Patz says by keeping Anna Yates open, ECCL could deliver what he calls a "middle school focus", something parents have been clamoring for and help retain these students that the District now loses en masse.
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The District for its part has said it will close Anna Yates but they have not revealed what they ultimately will do with that site; at one point they refused to discount bulldozing the school and putting up a parking lot.
At least one Charter School is interested in seizing the school, an eventuality Emery would be powerless to stop if there were no elementary school function at the site. Charter schools are notorious for taking public money and only admitting the best and the brightest leaving the public schools with a more problematic demographic and bereft of money. Charter schools are also less accountable to the public than traditional public schools.
Board Member Patz is sending out the following letter to Emeryville residents:
On April 22, 2015 the Emery School Board board is discussing the future of Emery Schools. I am asking the School Board to give direction to Superintendent Rubio on the roll out for the Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) building project. I am asking the Board to focus on building a vibrant and rich middle school program.
Emery’s biggest need is to retain and grow middle school enrollment. In order to do this, I believe it necessary to keep the elementary students at Anna Yates Elementary School.
Since the closure of the Ralph Hawley school site, the middle school has been an adjunct first to Emery High and then Anna Yates. If we let them move in a building of their own, the proposed K-8 building, they will no longer be the plus one of the district.
Emery USD has an opportunity to create a true community school district. To do this, we will need places for kids to learn, play, and be accepted. The space created by not moving the elementary students to the ECCL will allow for more classes to increase enrollment for the district. Both campuses will be able to dedicate places for school enrichment programs in collaboration with the city and the recreation department.
Please join me on Wednesday April 22nd at 6:00 pm at Ralph Hawley Middle School, 1275 61st Street. Let the board know if you agree or disagree with the direction I am suggesting.
Hope to see you there,
Christian Patz, Ed.D.
Emery USD trustee