Skyridge may drop grades 6 through 8

Budget troubles on board
By: Loryll Nicolaisen Journal Staff Writer
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The state’s budget crisis and its impact on local school districts could mean no more K-8 program at Skyridge School as early as the next school year. Many parents are concerned about the possible change. The Auburn Union Elementary School District board of trustees meets at 7 tonight to discuss and possibly take action on removing grades six through eight from the Skyridge campus, meaning all middle-school students within district boundaries would attend E. V. Cain. “The district’s budget committee has recommended moving the middle-school program over to E. V. Cain,” said Michele Schuetz, district superintendent. Lynn Hargrove, board president, said the district’s budget advisory committee recommended the Skyridge middle-school program be discontinued as a substantial cost-cutting measure. “They were looking for any ways and all ways to cut back on spending, which we will have to do based on the state budget,” she said Tuesday. “It’s not anything we want to cut because it serves our district very well, but we are looking at everything.” As of Jan. 21, Skyridge had 67 students enrolled in grades six through eight. This is the first year a K-8 program has been offered at Skyridge, coming as a result of the board’s decision to close Alta Vista School, which previously housed a K-8 program. “It’s going to be a hard decision for the board because they did make the choice to move the K-8 to offer more choices for families,” Schuetz said. The district recently sent letters to parents explaining the possibility of a discontinued K-8 program, seeking feedback as to where their children might go next year whether or not Skyridge continues to serve middle-schoolers. Rob Haswell is president of Skyridge’s parent-teacher club. While parents likely understand the dire straits districts such as Auburn Union are in because of the state budget crisis, Haswell said it’s still unfortunate that the district has to consider making this decision. “Obviously, we feel like having a K-8 opportunity in the district serves a value for the district,” he said. Louise Knop, who teaches the seventh/eighth-grade class at Skyridge, shared a similar sentiment. She thinks the district better serves its students by giving them options. “My feeling as a teacher is that not every student is a cookie-cutter image,” she said. “(The K-8 model) suits different students and their needs and I think that’s why the district started the program here.” Seventh-grader Mariela Esteban transferred from E. V. Cain to attend Skyridge during the 2008-2009 school year. “We want to stay here, because it’s not that crowded, like E. V. Cain, and it’s better for us, because we only have one teacher,” she said after school Tuesday. The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at __________ Parents and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend tonight’s Auburn Union board meeting, which will be held in the Wildcat Gym at E. V. Cain Middle School, located at 150 Palm Ave. in Auburn. Open session begins at 7 p.m. Call the district office at (530) 885-7242 for more information.