Late-Night Vote Saves Richmond Schools

By Christie Smith
|  Wednesday, Sep 8, 2010  |  Updated 1:56 PM PDT
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A packed meeting in <a title=Richmond showed how much people cared about the possibility of school closures." />

A packed meeting in Richmond showed how much people cared about the possibility of school closures.

Any time you put schools on the chopping block, things are bound to get heated. That was the case Tuesday night after the financially strapped West Contra Costa Unfied School District said it would have to close three schools: Kennedy High, Olinda and Grant Elementary schools.

The ball was in the city council's court and after a packed meeting filled with emotional testimony from students, families and administrators, the vote was unanimous -- keep the schools open.

Those who spoke up pointed out that displacing all these high school students to surrounding schools could spark violence.

In the end, the council vote unanimously to donate $1.5 million to keep the doors open for one more year. Board members pointed out that the schools lost $39 million in state funding and they had nowhere to turn.

But at least one councilmember said that the schools may be fiscally irresponsible. Nat Bates argued the schools treat the city like an ATM. This is not the first time they have come to the city for cash.

The money will apply to the 2011 - 2012 school year.

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