SACRAMENTO - On Thursday night, the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education will vote to decide whether they will be closing 10 elementary schools.
The SCUSD says district-wide, elementary school enrollment is at 56 percent of capacity.
Gabe Ross, spokesman for the district, says enrollment has been steadily declining and is below 50 percent of capacity at 11 schools in the district, which is why the district superintendent is recommending school closures to the board.
"We know that in this district we've been kicking the can down the road for a long time on this topic," says Ross.
"We've had a 10 percent decline in our enrollment over the last decade, that amounts to about 180 classrooms full of kids, that used to be full that are now empty," said Ross, who added that by closing schools, the district hopes to maximize their resources by focusing on fewer schools. "It allows fewer split classes, more resources for things like academic programs to help student learning. More resources for things like librarians and nurses, things that have been cut over the past decade."
Ross says cutting schools is not ideal, but it's what the district feels is best for the schools and students.
"This is not about their school not being great, not about their principal or their teacher not being great, it's about us having more schools than we can afford," he said.
On Wednesday night, dozens of parents, students and teachers outraged by the proposed closures rallied to save their neighborhood schools.
On Thursday, the SCUSD Board will decide whether they are closing the following elementary schools: Fruit Ridge, James W. Marshall, Washington, Tahoe, Collis P. Huntington, Susan B. Anthony, Bret Harte, Joseph Bonnheim, Mark Hopkins, Clayton B. Wire, and Maple. On Thursday, March 7, the trustees will consider the closure of either Tahoe or Mark Twain elementary schools.
If the board decides to close any of the schools, 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."