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7 schools to be closed, votes Sac City school board | Education

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7 schools to be closed, votes Sac City school board

SACRAMENTO, CA - The Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education voted to close seven schools at its meeting Thursday night.

The schools to close are:

  1. Fruit Ridge
  2. Washington
  3. C.P. Huntington
  4. Joseph Bonnheim
  5. Mark Hopkins
  6. C.B. Wire
  7. Maple

The board voted 4 to 3 to close the schools. Board members who voted yes were: Jay Hansen, Jeff Cueno, Patrick Kennedy and Darrel Woo. The no votes were cast by Christina Pritchett, Diana Rodriguez and Gustavo Arroyo.

In mid-January, district spokesperson Gabe Ross said staff recommended closing 11 schools because there are too many schools in the district compared to the declining number of students.

These 11 schools were operating at 56 percent capacity:

  1. Fruit Ridge
  2. James Marshall
  3. Washington
  4. Tahoe
  5. C.P. Huntington
  6. Susan B. Anthony
  7. Bret Harte
  8. Joseph Bonnheim
  9. Mark Hopkins
  10. C.B. Wire
  11. Maple

Before Thursday's meeting, the board decided to move a vote about closing Tahoe and Mark Twain elementary schools to next month. Mark Twain Elementary was added to the list of possible school closures. Also, the board will revisit closing Mark Hopkins at its next meeting. 

However, during the meeting, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond removed James Marshall, Bret Harte and Susan B. Anthony from the closure consideration list.

The board faced criticism from the public because nine of the 11 schools on the list are located in the south Sacramento area, whose community tends to be poorer compared to the rest of the district.

Leading up to the meeting, the school board held community meetings at each site to get recommendations. Parents, students and teachers held protests at their schools to fight closure. On Thursday, parents, students and school volunteers continued to plead with board members to keep their schools open.

"I really like our school," Mark Hopkins 2nd grader Jasmine Aguilar told board members. "I like it because first we have the best teachers, the best principal, and the managers, the people in the office who help us."

"This is not a matter of our school failing the district, but a matter of the district failing our school," a grandmother told the board. "I would urge you all to reconsider this decision. You have no idea what the impact is going to be."

Raymond warned the crowd the district's financial situation requires the board to close schools.

"At this point we're projecting a budget deficit for our '13-'14 school year between $5.1 and $11 million," Raymond said.

Ross said schools with under-enrollment tend to drain resources from other students and other schools. The district would save $10 million over four years by closing the schools. Teachers who worked at the schools that will close would likely keep their jobs, but it was unknown what will happen to other staff.

Ross said, "They will approve a committee whose express purpose is to work with the community and find the best use for repurposing those facilities."

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