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.