Delta View School District to Shut Down?

May 15, 2009 8:39:22 PM PDT
Declining test scores and a highway expansion project may force the 93-year old district to shut down. A small South Valley School District may be shutting its doors indefinitely now that the State Board of Education has rejected the school's charter renewal application.

Superintendent Carmen Barnhart said, "They did so based on the fact that we failed to meet any of the renewal criteria most notably we've had declining test scores over the past five years."

On Wednesday the school district board voted to shut down the facility and try to merge with another district because of enrollment concerns. The school's charter designation allowed for about 30 students from outside its district to attend. Those students can no longer go to this school. The school has lost another 8-10 students from the Highway 198 widening project because the facility sits right on the edge of Highway 198.

John Stankovich with the Kings Co. Office of Education said, "It was October or November that they actually started demolition of some of those houses and people had to move out."

Stankovich and Barnhart say shutting down the school and merging with a neighboring district is a better option than continuing to operate with only 40 students.

With so few students and not enough staff Delta View would be forced to combine 3, 4, even 5 grades in one class.

"I would be gravely concerned about the ability of the learning that would occur in those classes with that kind of grade span," said Stankovich.

Since 1916 Delta View Elementary School District has been serving the Kings and Tulare County farming communities.

Stankovich says while the district wants new educational opportunities for its students, shutting down the school is a heartbreaking experience.

"There's 3rd and 4th generation families attending there and it's very difficult to make those kinds of decisions," said Stankovich.

Officials will get final approval from the State Board of Education to shut down the school -- in early July.

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