Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

March 7, 2013
Sacramento City district school board spares two schools from closure

Sacramento City Unified School District trustees tonight, as expected, gave a unanimous thumbs up to continued operation of both Tahoe Elementary and Mark Twain Elementary schools.

Trustees had been asked to choose which of the two schools should close to help ease the financial burden of declining district enrollment. But the campuses won a reprieve from that decision.

The district with 47,000 students lost 10 percent of its enrollment in one decade and projects further decline. The board voted two weeks ago to close seven other campuses after the current school year.

Superintendent Jonathan Raymond told trustees that instead of closure, he recommended that both Mark Twain and Tahoe continue operating. As he did so, members of the audience erupted in applause.

A staff report prepared for the meeting cited two persuasive factors: input from communities around both schools and the uncertainty around the timing and scope of West Campus construction adjacent to Mark Twain.

Using bond money approved by voters in November, the district is planning for a substantial transformation of West Campus High School to create facilities that a comprehensive high school should provide.

District spokesman Gabe Ross earlier Thursday said the timing of that project was not yet decided. That uncertainty means that it may be premature to move Mark Twain students to Tahoe. And it may be unwise to move Tahoe students to Mark Twain where construction is planned.

Tahoe Elementary at 3110 60th St. has an enrollment of 315 students with a capacity of 822, according to the district. Mark Twain Elementary at 4914 58th St. has an enrollment of 343 students with a capacity of 891.

The staff report noted that the superintendent's recommendations "recognize the overwhelming desire throughout the district to put this difficult matter to rest and immediately devote all resources and energy towards the transition process underway at the seven sites already voted to be closed."

The board on Feb. 21 approved seven schools for closure - Washington, Maple, Collis P. Huntington, Fruit Ridge, Joseph Bonnheim, Mark Hopkins and Clayton B. Wire.

This post was updated late Thursday after the board took action.

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

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