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Reorganization a topic on the mind of local schools

Education workshop lays out process
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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Placer County schools are now equipped with one more tool if they head down the path of district reorganization. School superintendents, trustees and other interested community members have a better idea of the intricacies of reorganization after attending an informational workshop hosted Monday by the county office of education and School Innovation and Advocacy. “I think what people left with is, there’s so many things that you need to consider … and that you can’t go into these decisions lightly,” said Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, Placer County superintendent of schools. Ken Tokutomi, a Placer County Board of Education trustee, said Monday’s workshop offered quite a bit of information to the more than 50 people in attendance. “I think it’s a great first step,” he said. “We all realize, with a 20 percent budget cut, the schools are hurting and there’s nowhere else to cut. I think it’s a great means for people to realize what the process is. It’s a starting point.” Attendees learned a brief history of California’s school district organization, discussed trends among the state’s districts and schools, organization and responsibilities of different agencies involved in a potential reorganization, criteria and conditions for reorganization approval, election procedures and other topics pertaining to the subject. Ken Nittler was one of three Auburn Union Elementary School District trustees in attendance Monday. “The fact is, funding has been reduced for our schools and it seems like it’s going to stay that way,” he said Tuesday. “Unification seems to be one way to stretch existing dollars.” Michele Schuetz, Auburn Union Elementary School District superintendent, said she doesn’t know at this point what Auburn Union might do in terms of reorganization, if anything, but that she and other educators now have a great resource on the subject. “I think everyone will take it back and discuss it with their board and their stakeholders,” Schuetz said. “I think most of the districts would say they’re just looking and just gathering information at this point.” Schuetz said her district, along with Placer Hills Union School District, wanted Placer County Office of Education to provide more information. “It was a great overview of the process,” said Fred Adam, Placer Hills superintendent. “It really met our expectations.” Adam said reorganization is a discussion item at the board’s next meeting, on Nov. 12, and that it’s an ongoing topic of discussion. Garbolino-Mojica doesn’t know what the next step might be for each of the county’s 16 districts. “I think every district is in a different space right now,” she said. “I think there are some districts who are going to look at this very closely … and may be taking some steps forward.” Reach Loryll Nicolaisen at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com.