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Sacramento-area district opts not to close 5 schools

Jan. 30, 2020
The Twin Rivers Unified School Board votes 6-1 against an administration proposal to close 1 middle and 4 elementary schools.

The Twin Rivers (Calif.) school board has voted against closing five schools, after about a year of consideration and review.

The Sacramento Bee reports that the board was considering a proposal to close four elementary schools and a middle school. But the board voted 6-1 against the proposal.

Twin Rivers is dealing with declining enrollment and a $3.8 million budget deficit. The district has more than 23,000 students in 46 K-12 campuses with 15 different grade configurations. District officials say that has created under-enrolled schools and staffing inefficiencies.

Officials say that with a budget deficit still looming, they will look into other solutions to close the gap.

The schools that were spared from closing: Martin Luther King Jr. Tech Academy—a middle school—and four elementary campuses: Babcock, Fairbanks, Hillsdale, and Sierra View.

Although the district isn't closing any campuses, it still intends to reconfigure several schools into one of four grade configurations:

Grades K-6 (700 students) and K-8 (900 students) for elementary.

Grades 7-8 (1,000 students) for intermediate.

Grades 9-12 (2,000 students) for secondary.

Parents and community members argued that school closures would mean larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and busing students away from their neighborhood schools.

Sasha Vogt, a parent at Martin Luther King Jr. Tech Academy, called the school the pride and joy of the community.

“The schools slated for closure happened to be among the most vulnerable in our community, the most isolated and the most marginalized in our community,” says Vogt, who is also running for a seat on the school board.

Nearly 90% of students enrolled in Twin Rivers schools come from low-income families. More than a quarter are English learners, and 6% of the district’s students are in foster youth.

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