Elementary school board hears another presentation on unification

December 11, 2009
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Elementary School has heard another presentation on the unification issue.

By Brian D. Wilson

Santa Paula Times

The Santa Paula Elementary School has heard another presentation on the unification issue.

The original pitch for unifying the elementary and high school districts came from the Education Committee of the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce.  They prepared a 90-page document supporting unification.  Now, a break-off group from that committee called, “Kids First” has taken over the effort to unify.

Rob Corley told trustees that unification could improve education, shift dollars to the classroom and improve the community image.  He said that the Briggs, Mupu and Santa Clara school districts would not be affected by the plan. He also said that state law allows a high school district to unify with one or more districts and leave other elementary districts unchanged.  

Why unification?  Corley said, “This small town only needs one superintendent and one district office.  The school boards have not worked together.  The districts do not share costs or economize.  We need one calendar for all public schools.  Students lose because of the lack of curriculum coordination.  We need better use of shared facilities - fields, gyms.”  Corley said the savings by unifying could amount to a million dollars a year.  

He added that the children would benefit from unification because of more money for the classrooms, more coordinated curriculum. More consistent discipline and support, a seamless transition between schools, higher expectations and opportunities and graduates better prepared for college and the work force.  Corley also said there would be community benefits.  It would improve Santa Paula’s image, maximize the use of tax dollars, attract new homebuyers and businesses and there would be better-educated citizens for the future.

In another matter the board voted to hire an Assistant Superintendent for Business Services.  A former district employee, Catherine Bojorquez will take on the new position.  She currently is employed in the Fillmore Unified School District.

Trustees also elected a new board president and clerk.  Dan Robles was chosen as board president.  He was the clerk of the board.  Michelle Kolbeck was named as the new clerk.

The board will hold a budget study session next Monday at 5:00 p.m. at the Santa Paula Community Center.

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