Misinformation fuels discord over Paso Robles school closure

December 15, 2023


Parents and students implored committee members not to shut down Winifred Pifer Elementary School in Paso Robles during a meeting on Thursday night. Concerns school officials said were based on rumors and not fact.

In August, Paso Robles Unified School District officials voted unanimously to move forward with a capacity study as they work to determine the future of the Georgia Brown Elementary campus and a location for its dual immersion program. Because of seismic issues, the Georgia Brown campus is facing possible closure.

The board also directed staff to form an advisory committee to look into options for relocating the dual immersion charter school program. Because of steadily declining enrollment numbers, many of the elementary schools have empty classrooms.

Paso Robles City Councilman Chris Bausch, a former school district board member, has suggested the board move sixth graders out of middle school and back to elementary school, and then consolidate the two middle schools into one.

“Consolidate the two middle schools at Lewis then let Georgia Brown take over the then vacant Flamson Middle School to become a K-8 Dual Immersion school,” Bausch wrote in his proposal. “By reducing both short and long-term expenditures, this third option is both reasonable, affordable and achieves several goals.

By closing a campus, district officials estimate they will save approximately $750,000 a year.

Before committee members provided their top choices for campuses to remain open, they listened to public comment.

Several grade school children pleaded with committee members not to close their school, while parents accused the district of already making the decision to close Winifred Pifer.

Multiple Spanish speaking parents, who spoke through an interpreter, asked the board to close an elementary school in a more affluent area where parents have the resources to drive their children to school. Several speakers argued the children would suffer trauma if Winifred Pifer is closed.

Following public comment, the committee released the votes given by members who selected multiple campuses they felt would not work as hosts for the dual immersion program.

  • Virginia Peterson Elementary – 14 votes
  • Pat Butler Elementary – 10 votes
  • Winifred Pifer Elementary – eight votes
  • Glen Speck Elementary – seven votes
  • Georgia Brown Elementary – six votes
  • Daniel Lewis Middle School – five votes
  • Kirmet King Elementary – two votes
  • George Flamson Middle School – two votes

In response to the misinformation repeated during public comment, Superintendent Curt Dubost released the following statement:

“Rumors are running rampant that the District Advisory Committee, which has been formed to recommend the permanent new location for our district Dual Immersion Program, currently located on the 36th St site (Georgia Brown), has already made “a recommendation and that a school is closing,” Dubost wrote. “This is not true, nor is the committee planning this evening to make a decision as to the site they will be recommending.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. While moving it to the current site of Winifred Pifer is one of many options that have been recommended for consideration, no decision has been made nor is to be made until the committee concludes its study next month.”

The committee is slated to conclude its study in January.


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If there were people in the administration that knew how to manage a school district, there wouldn’t be this confusion. Paso Robles school district needs a good clean out from top to bottom! Way too top heavy, the administration has no clue what is going on in our schools, and there are several positions that are totally unnecessary, and taking dollars away from the needs of students, namely EDUCATION.

shut down Winifred Pifer Elementary and vacate Flamson also? is there a student shortage or whats going on?