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Skyridge middle-school program to be revisited at Wednesday board meeting

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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The fate of Skyridge Elementary’s middle-school program could be decided at Wednesday night’s Auburn Union Elementary School District board meeting.
Trustees, upon the suggestion of the district’s budget committee, are considering the value of discontinuing grades six, seven and eight at the district’s only K-8 school as a cost-cutting measure due to state budgetary woes. If the board discontinues Skyridge’s 6-8 program, all middle-school students within district boundaries would attend E. V. Cain as early as the 2009-2010 school year.
After hearing more than an hour of public comment on the matter at their Feb. 11 meeting, trustees continued discussion and possible action on the matter to Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the district office.
Michele Schuetz, district superintendent, said a letter of intent, originally sent to Skyridge’s middle-school families, has also been distributed to Skyridge parents whose children are enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade. The letters are meant to give parents an opportunity to tell the district and board where they’d like their children to attend school next year if Skyridge’s middle-school program ends.
“We had ever so many of those returned,” said Doris Chandler, Skyridge Elementary principal. “I think the good thing the district has done is given everyone the chance to voice their opinions … all the way from kindergarten up.”
Ken Nittler, the board’s newest member and former chairman of the district’s budget advisory committee, said while it’s important to offer families choices, it’s also not the most logical thing to do.
“There is a very serious budget situation. Anyone who understands what the state has done to education budgets understands that,” he said. “The district just isn’t in a position now to offer the luxury of these two programs.”
Nittler thinks it’s important for the district to do the most good for the most students, all while staying afloat.
“The district has an obligation to maintain its fiscal responsibility, and this is one in a stream of decisions the district has to make,” he said.
The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Auburn Union Elementary School District board of trustees meeting
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Auburn Union district office, 255 Epperle Lane, Auburn
Information: (530) 885-7242