SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Send Your Kids to School

Highlights from Tuesday evening’s community meeting at Sacramento Charter High School in the North Study Area.

Board Members in attendance: Roy Grimes, Ellyne Bell, Patrick Kennedy, Gustavo Arroyo and Diana Rodriguez

The large audience included parents, students, teachers and neighbors representing The Met Sacramento, Sacramento Charter High, PS-7, Sutter Middle,West campus, Theodore Judah and Father Keith B. Kenney, among others.

Staff comments:

  • The district has experienced declining enrollment over the last 8-10 years
  • SCUSD must cut $30 million from its budget in the next 18 months
  • “We’re not going to serve any less lunches, we’re just going to serve them in less places”
  • Budget decisions will be made on or around March 15
  • If schools are closed they won’t be shuttered…the district is working with the city to to provide partnerships with other entities (health clinics, preschools, child care, etc)
  • The Serna Center has cut back its capacity by 10,000 square feet in order to rent or lease that space
  • The school board is committed to a transparent, thoughtful process
  • Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and new ideas.
  • Marketing has been the weak link and the staff is working on promotion, recruitment and showcasing.
  • Staff is also working to put together a plan that makes sense — one that balances the budget and stays away from the classroom.

Community concerns:

  • Sacramento Charter High should be fully utilized for its capacity and considered as a site for co-location
  • The large contingent of attendees representing the Met voiced their concerns about possible “blending” with another campus. Many spoke of wanting to save their small school environment
  • Small high schools have a specific focus but lack a balanced education — look at the big picture and include art, music and sports into the curricula
  • Neighborhoods that have struggled for decades will deteriorate if schools close and urban blight will take over
  • SCUSD needs to make its programs attractive to retain enrollment. Make schools a shining light and people will want to go there
  • Oak Park has been lacking a middle school for over 40 years
  • Co-locating Sac Charter HS with another school will upset the program and the solution is not to create more havoc
  • PS-7 has worked hard to establish a culture and consolidation is not the answer, investment in what’s working is the solution
  • The zero tolerance policy the board established for truancy in its last meeting is going to further burden children in poverty-stricken areas

Ideas:

  • consolidate administration to a 4-day work week
  • expand programs that are successful
  • return to the K-6 elementary, 7-9 junior high, and 10-12 senior high model
  • consider that small programs limit the need for special education services
  • consider instituting the block system on more high school campuses
  • offer fee-based pre-school, child care, language education and martial arts at schools to increase revenue
  • partner with churches to lease space
  • take a regionalized approach by establishing empowerment zones for local businesses to sponsor schools — work with legislation to provide tax incentives
  • set up suggestion boxes around the city to gather input on an ongoing basis
  • expand waiting lists for popular programs and make it easier for students in other districts to transfer to SCUSD
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