SACRAMENTO, CA - A $10 million to $12 million budget deficit in the Sacramento City Unified School District is leaving some school board members questioning if closing schools is the right decision and parents wondering what will happen next.
Thursday's overflow crowd at adistrict board meetingpleaded with district officials to reconsider the plan to close 11 schools. Some school board members also opposed a plan by district staff.
Diana Rodriguez, one of the board members opposed to the plan, is not convinced the district is losing money at each of the targeted schools.
"Not enough information has come out to prove that each school site is running in a deficit," said Rodriguez.
District officials disagree.
Gabe Ross, the district's chief communications officer, says closing the schools and consolidating will save money and create better opportunities for the students.
"Students at larger schools will have more access to resources, more support for learning, more intervention, more opportunities for enrichment programs," said Ross.
Rodriguez is also concerned about the burden that would fall back onto parents. Oscar Morales chose his home, across the street from CP Huntington Elementary School, because it was across the street.
"That's the main reason we moved into this neighborhood," said Morales.
Students moving to new schools would also likely require additional busing from homes that were within walking distance from schools. Ross said the district considered the extra cost in the school closures formula, and he says the savings still outweigh that additional cost.
While the district would make accommodations for getting the kids to-and-from school, Rodriguez worries about what happens on other occasions.
"What happens if the child were to get sick at school?" she asked.
There will be community meetings in the coming weeks at each of the schools targeted to close.
The school board is scheduled to revisit the closure issue at its Feb. 21 meeting.
by Patrick Walker, PWalker@news10.net