January 24, 2013 (Sacramento): Sacramento City Unified School District has set dates for community meetings at 11 dramatically under-enrolled elementary schools slated for closure next fall.
The closures are aimed at ‘’right-sizing” SCUSD, which has experienced deep declines in student enrollment over the past decade – a loss of about 5,500 students since 2001-02, or about 160 classrooms. For 2012-13, SCUSD’s student population is down again by at least 800.
District-wide, SCUSD’s 56 elementary schools operate at just 56 percent of capacity. (By comparison, the much larger Elk Grove Unified School District has just 39 elementary schools; similarly sized San Juan Unified has 43.) Factors cited as contributing to SCUSD’s student decline include the aging of urban neighborhoods, the lure of newer suburbs beyond SCUSD’s borders and the region’s economic downturn.
Declining enrollment translates to a loss of state funds and triggers structural budget problems, as under-enrolled campuses strain resources. Despite passage of Proposition 30, SCUSD is bracing for another budget deficit in 2013-14 due to rising costs and the predicted loss of another 800 students.
Right-sizing benefits students by reducing the number of split-grade classrooms and concentrating maintenance and security resources on fewer campuses, which makes campuses safer and healthier for kids.
The Board of Education is scheduled to take action on school closures at its February 21 meeting. The schedule of meetings is as follows:
• Wednesday, January 30: Tahoe Elementary School, 3110 60th St.
• Monday, February 4: Bret Harte Elementary School, 2751 9th Ave.
• Monday, February 4: C.B. Wire Elementary School, 5100 El Paraiso Ave.
• Tuesday, February 5: James Marshall Elementary School, 9525 Goethe Road
• Tuesday, February 5: Susan B. Anthony Elementary School, 7864 Detroit Blvd.
• Wednesday, February 6: Mark Hopkins Elementary School, 2221 Matson Drive
• Wednesday, February 6: Fruit Ridge Elementary School, 4625 44th St.
• Wednesday, February 13: Washington Elementary School, 520 18th St.
• Wednesday, February 13: Maple Elementary School,3301 37th Ave.
• Tuesday, February 19: C.P. Huntington Elementary School, 5921 26th St.
• Tuesday, February 19: Joseph Bonnheim Elementary School, 7300 Marin Ave.
All meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. at the school site.