Sherman R. Frederick
The Novato Unified School District Board of Trustees took the first step toward the potential closing of school in the city.
The district has known for years that enrollment in the district has been on the decrease and some adjustment in school facilities was coming down the road.
That road starts in 2021 as Superintendent Kris Cosca asked the board to approve a “7-11 Committee” to advise the district on building usage. That could lead, he said, to the closing or a school, possible sale of district property or repurposing school assets, which could include a plan for teacher housing.
The board approved the request. The committee will consist of 7 to 11 members (hence the name). The board is scheduled to approve the committee members at its Jan. 26 meeting.
Cosca said the number will likely be closer to 11 as the committee must represent the community in every significant way, from demographics to landowners, renters and shopkeepers.
The job of the committee is to advise the Board regarding the use or disposition of school buildings, space, or property that is not needed for school purposes.
The 7-11 committee will be “Brown Act compliant,” Cosca said. Meetings will be fully open to the public and while the committee will be limited to no more than 11 people, the meetings will feature presentations from many more people in the community.
You can find more information on the committee at nusd.org/711/.
“The District must, after community input (through the 7-11 Committee), bring the decision to close one or more schools to the governing board for approval,” Cosca said.
“The Education Code provides very limited guidance on the school closure process. However, the first step in permanently closing a school is often times to seek community input through the 7-11 Committee process. Education Code section 17387 provides, in pertinent part: It is the intent of the Legislature to have the community involved before decisions are made about school closure or the use of surplus space, thus avoiding community conflict and assuring building use that is compatible with the community’s needs and desires.”
The scope of the committee is to access hard assets of the District. Taxes do not fall within the committee’s responsibility.
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