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Oceanside Unified School District board votes to close Reynolds Elementary School

Closure to go into effect in June
Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 14, 2023

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - It was a packed house at in a large building at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Oceanside on Monday night.

The focus of this special Oceanside Unified School District board meeting being Reynolds Elementary School and whether the district will vote to close it at the end of the school year.

“We fought for this two years ago and we advocated as a community to keep our school together. And there’s just been no transparency. I feel like there’s a lack of due diligence,” said Ashley Gerdo, a parent of a Reynold student.

“These kids just went through COVID. They went back and forth through school. They never had a normal year since TK. Now, we are here doing it again to them,” said parent Nick Thomas.

Various experts explaining findings of mandatory tests that were a part of the campus modernization project found soil liquefaction at Reynolds Elementary.

District officials said this means that the soil has a loss of strength and that will cause the soil to temporarily act like liquid. If there’s an earthquake this can cause buildings at the school to sink.

Thus, the pending vote to potentially close the school.

“So, that causes a danger to anybody that’s in those buildings. And they found that those buildings were built on soil that has liquefaction. So, knowing that information, that’s something that would put students at risk and we can’t have that,” said district boardmember Nancy Licona.

After hearing cries of the public to give parents, students, and more time to adjust and relocate, the board voted to close the school.

“It was a 3-1 vote to go ahead and close Reynolds at this point,” Board President Raquel Alvarez said after the votes were cast.

Licona voted to abstain on Monday evening.

“Knowing that the information was not available to families in Spanish, I don’t believe that its idea to build schools on unsafe ground knowing this information moving forward. But I just didn’t feel comfortable making that decision tonight knowing that information was not accessible to all families,” Licona said.

Following the vote, some tears were had in the eyes of those protesting to keep Reynolds Elementary open.

“I think they know that they are elected officials and I don’t think that this community’s going to forget that,” Thomas said.

“I don’t feel that I can trust the Board. And to be honest, I’ll be pulling my kids out of this district, and I will not be reelecting any of these board members,” Gerdo said.

The school board will meet again on March 23 to discuss the plans of how and where the students at Reynolds will be moved.