The Bonsall Union School District board voted 5-0 August 16 to close Bonsall West Preschool, and the school board meeting also included a lottery for students seeking an interdistrict transfer to attend Bonsall West Elementary School.
“We had no other room to add another kindergarten except for the preschool,” said BUSD superintendent Justin Cunningham. “We strongly regret having to close it, but we had no choice really.”
The district had planned to lease five portable classroom buildings to accommodate the growth of students at Bonsall West Elementary School, but a recent state Department of School Architecture change requires DSA purchasing procedure approval rather than over-the-counter sales authorization. The DSA procedure would have cost the district an additional $150,000 to $200,000, so the district abandoned plans to add classrooms and instead focused on accommodating Bonsall West students without the additional rooms.
“We weren’t able to increase the capacity for the students,” Cunningham said. “We had to make a cut.”
This year Bonsall West has between 100 and 110 kindergarten students, so having three kindergarten classes as was the case in 2012-13 would have resulted in more than 35 students per class. The closure of the preschool allowed that room to be used for a fourth kindergarten class.
“We believe that the preschool is a good thing, but we just didn’t have the capacity to continue it,” Cunningham said. “It’s not part of our mission or purpose.”
The loss of the planned portable classrooms also forced the district to prioritize interdistrict transfers. The district had approximately a dozen interdistrict transfer requests, and the lottery selected four students who will be able to attend Bonsall West Elementary School. “We wanted to keep the remainder on a waiting list in case people didn’t show up or left,” Cunningham said.
The Bonsall Union School District has full-day kindergarten sessions. Cunningham noted that the limit on interdistrict transfers took into account a “buffer” in case additional students within the district enroll at Bonsall West.