Gardenland/Northgate School Changes Discussed

A parent shares her concerns about proposed changes to Twin Rivers school district school with the assistance of an interpreter at a community meeting on Dec. 3.

BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ |
@natomasbuzz

About three dozen people attended a community meeting held Tuesday evening at Rio Tierra Junior High School to learn more about proposed changes to Twin Rivers Unified School District schools.

The meeting was the fifth in a series of sessions meant to get public input about plans to save money by reconfiguring several schools, consolidating some sites together and closing a handful of campuses.

The sixth and final community meeting will be held tonight, Dec. 4 at Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy, located at 3051 Fairfield Street, in Sacramento. It is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Martinez speaks with a family at the Tuesday community meeting.

“If I had my way, we would never close schools,” superintendent Dr. Steve Martinez told attendees Tuesday. “It’s one of the worst things to do.”

According to the information presented at the community meeting by Martinez, Bill McGuire and Dr. Kristen Coates, Twin Rivers has more grade configurations at its school sites than any other district in Sacramento County.  The district also has fewer students per school compared to neighboring districts.

The school district must have a plan to cut $20 million from its budget by March 2020. The cuts, school district officials said, are needed due to a 6% decline in enrollment over the past eight years. Or about $16.4 million in lost funding.

The proposal includes changing Gardenland/Northgate schools Rio Tierra Jr. High from a 6-8 grade school to a 7-8 grade campus, and Hazel Strauch Elementary from a K-5 school to a K-6 campus.

During the meeting on Tuesday, attendees sat at one of seven tables set up representing area schools: Smythe Academy K-6, Smythe Academy 7-8, Rio Tierra Jr. High, Hazel Strauch Elementary, Norwood Middle, Morey Avenue ECD and Garden Valley Elementary.

Following the slide presentation, those sitting at the tables discussed a series of questions such as how the proposal would impact them or their children, and what actions would they take should school closures be approved. The groups reported out their feedback and the floor was then open for public comment.

“We are getting to the point that if we don’t do something to support this district, we are going to end up like Sacramento City Unified or Oakland,” Martinez said. “This is our current reality.”

The Twin Rivers school board is expected to vote in early 2020 on a plan.


For more information visit Twin Rivers Unified School District website.

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