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Monroe to Close, Burcham to Go K-5

Monroe K-8 School will close, and Burcham K-8 School will become K-5 at the end of this school year, the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education decided at its last meeting as part of ongoing budget reductions.

The three-member Personnel Commission and its 17 office staff members will move into the Monroe facility in the 2013-14 school year.  This re-use of the facility will result in minimal impact to the adjacent neighborhood.  The commission meets biweekly regarding items affecting the employment and compensation of LBUSD’s classified employees.

“While none of us relishes the closure of this fine school, we will apply the savings from this closure toward our continued efforts to provide students an outstanding education,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said.

The school board also approved school boundary adjustments in light of the Monroe closure.  The entire Monroe boundary will now be part of nearby Cleveland Elementary School’s boundary, and Cleveland’s new boundary will now become part of Bancroft Middle School’s boundary.  Monroe families also will have first priority in the school of choice process, which allows them to attend other schools in the district.

LBUSD staff is working closely with affected parents regarding student placement and has scheduled parent meetings in January.

The Monroe and Burcham consolidation is due in part to declining enrollment.  LBUSD now enrolls 81,000 students, down more than 16,000 from the peak enrollment in 2002.  Declining enrollment exacerbates budget woes because schools receive most of their funding based on student attendance.

The consolidation also is due to the likely elimination of LBUSD’s remaining K-8 transportation services, and because both Monroe and Burcham have relatively small numbers of neighborhood students.  Only 162 of Monroe’s 655 students live within the school neighborhood.  At Burcham, only 55 of the 186 students in grades six through eight live within the school neighborhood, thus the recommendation to eliminate those grade levels.