Numbers point to school closure
Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn will likely make a recommendation next month to the board of education that a school should be closed because enrollment numbers are declining.
The announcement was made Tuesday night during a meeting where more than 100 people gathered to sign up for groups addressing school finance, alternative education and a possible school closure.
Enrollment numbers won’t be made official until Oct. 1 when the district sends its figures to Sacramento for state funding. Preliminary reports indicate the district is down 150 to 175 students from last school year. Elementary enrollment, a cause for concern because it’s an indication of future enrollment at the secondary levels, is down 134 students from last year’s 2,295.
Scheerhorn said the board could vote to on her recommendation, which will be made at the Oct. 14 board meeting if the figures do not change. A recommendation on which school, likely one of the five elementary sites, will follow at a December meeting.
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The quick timeline is the reason why the group researching a school closure — as well as possibly creating new boundaries, school configurations and facility usage — is meeting twice a month starting in October.
Jeannette Mitchell signed-up for the school closure group. She said each school has positives and negatives for closure.
“If a school is going to be closed, I want to make sure it’s for the right reasons and the children are going to benefit,” she said.
Scheerhorn said a school closure would average a savings of $500,000, while possibilities such as leasing the site would raise revenue.
Another year of losing students means another year of decreased revenue. Each student represents thousands of dollars in state money.
Al Tahoe Elementary teacher Geoff Blachman put his name down on the budget and school closure committees.
“As a teacher, children are my main focus so I feel as a teacher it’s my duty to be informed and also to have a voice,” he said.
Representatives from the three groups will report to Scheerhorn monthly. A report to the board of education will be made in November.
Lennie Schwartz, board president, watched as people penciled their name on lists to help the district.
“It’s not about closing a school … we have an opportunity to shape a district the way we want it to be,” he said.
E-mail William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org
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