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Banning Unified to Consider Closure of Coombs Intermediate Under "Repurposing"

In order to get the financial affairs of the district in order, some drastic changes may be in the works for the Banning Unified School District.

The Banning Unified School District is holding a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss some possible changes in the school system that could include the re-purposing of Coombs Intermediate School and expansion of Nicolet Middle School.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m., and parents, students, staff and community members are all invited to listen and weigh in on talks that could include (according to Board President Ray Curtis) some of the following possibilities:

  • Making Banning Unified School District into a "K-5" versus the current "K-4" district 
  • Re-purposing Coombs from a 5th and 6th grade schooling location to an unknown type, essentially closing it to most students to help with budget issues
  • Changing Nicolet Middle School into a 6th through 8th grade location

District staff scheduled the meeting to be held in the auditorium of Nicolet Middle School, in anticipation of a high turnout.

According to Bryan Astrachan, acting superintendent of BUSD, this discussion is purposely being held early on in the school year to help the district make decisions before the last minute.

“We have to continually look at what we can do to maintain financial solvency,” Astrachan said.

In July, the district was facing a $2.2 million budget shortfall, according to the Riverside County Office of Education-- which disapproved the 2012-13 BUSD budget.

"This district was in jeopardy of falling off the fiscal cliff," Astrachan told Banning-Beaumont Patch.

By October, though-- after hours and hours of meetings between the school board, teachers and workers-- a new budget had been reached that found $2.6 million in revisions.  

That budget was approved on Oct. 8, but with some strict instructions to get things in order financially.  This repurposing is just one way the district is working to meet those requirements.

Astrachan and Curtis stressed to Patch that if the district does re-purpose Coombs, the workers will not be let go, but rather their jobs would be re-purposed as well.

Depending on what comes out of Tuesday's meeting, the board plans to vote on the issue Dec. 11.

cynthia December 06, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I know the city has nothing to do with the school system. I stated that the city is a joke,because nothing that happens in this city seems to be the best choice for anyone that lives here.It's unfortunate! I live here and to continue to see the schools the way they are and the lack of compassion for our kids future is sad!
summer December 07, 2012 at 05:22 AM
I'm a Banning District employee, and I have to say that it's very frustrating when our goals and hours for our students don't align with administration. And when I say administration, I don't mean principals or deans. At the meeting the other night there were about 15 to 20 speakers all stating their opinions to the board about why they should leave Coombs alone. Every single speaker, whether they were parents, staff members or students were against the idea and said student safety must come first. But it's all about money to the board.
summer December 07, 2012 at 05:26 AM
And here's more that shouldn't sit well with our community: the District wants to get rid of the Boys and Girls Club throughout the district and run some after school program on their own. AND included on the committee that created the plan to "repurpose" Coombs were two school board members. The same two of five that will be voting on this issue next week. If that's not a blatant conflict of interest, I don't know what is.
Clarence December 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
(Student in Mrs. Lee's class) I went to a Christmas party 2 weeks ago and my friend's mom said the S.E. kids bring in more money than the kids with no problems. So thats probably why they closed it down. :/ Im only 10 so dont be an arse to me and say 'l0l stupid they closed it down for () lawl lawl lawl'......
Clarence December 19, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Just please dont

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