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Pleasant Ridge district's schools to remain open despite declining enrollment

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
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The Pleasant Ridge Union School District is going to have a busy summer. Now that the board of education recently voted to keep Pleasant Ridge Elementary School open, the district is working on some projects to start the 2008-09 school year off on the right foot. Buildings need to be painted, flowers need to be planted. The board took the recommendation of the Districtwide Enrollment Focus Group to keep the district’s three K-5 schools — Pleasant Ridge, Cottage Hill and Alta Sierra — open, with discussion and data review, through June 2009, Superintendent Linda Rooney said in a recent press release. This means Pleasant Ridge Elementary, a school of only 200 or so students, remains open through the end of the 2008-09 school year, Rooney said Tuesday. “The district is experiencing declining enrollment and particularly in decline is that small elementary school,” Rooney said. “The enrollment is not expected to decrease as much as we had planned.” Rooney said the district has seen a promising increase in kindergarten enrollment for the upcoming school year. “That is great because a kindergarten class comes to the school for six years, and nine years total in the district,” she said. The board has approved a contract to have its Web site redesigned and updated, one of the tools the district uses to entice families. “We do know that many of our students, when parents are moving from out of the area, they find us through our Web site,” Rooney said, “We are told our Web site is very instrumental.” The district’s enrollment focus group, made up of those connected to the schools and the surrounding community, formed last year to investigate cost-containment options. The group is working to identify ways to market the school district, and established a teacher/principal position at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. Derek Cooper’s new title, as of the start of the 2008-09 school year, is principal/Title I teacher. He said Tuesday that Pleasant Ridge Elementary has lost an average of 10 students per year since he started working there in 2001. “I’m just ecstatic that it’s going to keep on continuing,” he said of the board’s decision to keep the school open. “We are getting the word out that we are staying open and we are here.” Call (530) 268-2800 or visit www.pleasantridge.k12.ca.us to learn more about the Pleasant Ridge Union School District. The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia. com, or comment online at AuburnJournal.com.