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Education officials rebuff mayor’s Elementary school conversion idea

Date Posted: 2007-11-30

Kainan Elementary School is in the Naha City mayor’s sights as a building that could be converted to city office space, and education officials don’t like it at all.

Takeshi Onaga, whose City Hall is beyond capacity for accommodating all its agencies and operating divisions, had floated the idea of closing the school, which is located adjacent to City Hall, and modifying the structure to house government workers. Almost as a single voice, the Board of Education, Kainan Elementary School and the Parent Teachers Association have responded with a resounding ‘no’ to the idea.

“We can never close our school, because the children can’t move to another place,” said the PTA chairman. Onaga had suggested youngsters now at Kainan Elementary School could move to one of three other nearby schools, but the Naha City Board of Education says it’s already reviewing school closings, and has “reasonable arrangement planning” for city-owned schools. The board says its criteria, for which schools are reviewing routes and areas, and should have fewer than 11 school classes.

The board says Kainan Elementary School, based on its studies, is not on its list of schools to be closed. Chijo Tobaru, the chairman of the Board of Education, says “I want to discuss this with the mayor, based on the education point of view, so he can hear our opinion.” Mayor Onaga says “It’s not yet a sure thing. I just mentioned one idea, and I said it has to be discussed with you guys, and then we’ll decide the best thing to do.”

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