Valley School in Danger of Closing

March 17, 2008 9:25:27 PM PDT
The Mariposa County Unified School District may be forced to cut positions and change its alternative education programs to deal with the state budget deficit.Why the district says it's still searching for other options.

Spring Hill High School in Mariposa County is an alternative education campus that's designed to help students who have struggled to succeed in mainstream schools. Proposed state budget cuts may force the school board to close this facility and move students to the main high school.

Toni Southwood, Mariposa Co. Parent: "I know there's already Spring Hill students who are being threatened by high school students that they do not belong on their campus.

Toni Southwood is a former Spring Hill student whose son now attends the school. She says the alternative program helped her overcome an abusive childhood and later start a non-profit anti-bullying organization. She believes students at both schools will receive a better education by staying on separate campuses.

Toni Southwood: "I really feel it's a volatile situation to put these students together."

Parents are also concerned about the board's proposal to change the home schooling program. Right now it's run out of this building that the district rents, but it may also be moved to the main campus to save money.

Janette Gamble: "It's horrible."

School Board President Janette Gamble says no one wants to make any cuts, but the district must find some way to trim one point four million dollars from its budget. She says pink slips were sent to eight teachers and staff members, but no final decisions have been made about the programs.

Janette Gamble, School Board President: "We have not voted to do the relocation of the programs as we had planned because we are still looking for other ways to save money and maybe save the programs."

The district's new interim superintendent is hoping to help offer alternatives, but says if the programs must be moved, the district will work to protect students.

Dick Lowry, Interim Superintendent: "The board and staff members I've met with here are working very hard to keep the disruptions from the classroom delivery and to make sure students get the best education possible at this time."


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