SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Evergreen School District board members have voted 4-1 to move forward with a plan to potentially close or consolidate three schools over the next two years.

Superintendent Emy Flores said the district has not identified which schools may be affected, but in the past, Dove Hill and Laurelwood have been singled out as candidates because of consistently declining enrollment.

Both Dove Hill and Laurelwood have fewer than 300 students each but have capacity for about twice as many.

Flores said the district has lost roughly 2,500 students over the past decade. According to district estimates, 443 students will leave in the 2020-21 school year and another 314 in the 2021-22 school year.

“They simply can’t afford to live in San Jose,” said Flores.

Homes in the 95121 ZIP code, the neighborhoods that surround Dove Hill and Laurelwood, hover above the $1 million price range. More than half of the families who leave the district actually leave the area, said Flores.

The superintendent, who recently accepted the position this summer, said the district has not yet conducted any studies or surveys, so it’s unknown exactly why families are fleeing Evergreen, but she suspects the high cost of living is squeezing families out.

“Some of our families are perhaps struggling with multiple jobs and they still cannot pay the bills, or they cannot afford the rent of their home. At some point as a family, you have to decide, ‘Is it time for us to move?’ And I believe that has indeed happened for some of our families,” said Flores.

Angelina Aparicio transferred her son out of Dove Hill to larger schools with higher student populations that offered more programs.

“You got more options, you have more classes to enroll into basketball over there. Here, I didn’t see the option. That’s another reason I moved my son,” said Aparicio.

Jade Tran moved into the neighborhood near Dove Hill two years ago because she had heard much about the school and the district.

“That’s why we’re willing to pay that high, to get our kids to good schools. So if you’re closing schools, how about us now? We have to go schools that are not as highly rated or are father away? So what’s the whole point of buying an expensive area?” said Tran.

“We’re not alone in this,” said Flores, “As I talk to my superintendent friends, they are challenged with the same problems.”

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