Sacramento County schools for troubled students will remain open next year, but they will be only half full.
County Office of Education officials had considered shuttering the community schools because of a shortage of funding, but they were able to get commitments from local school districts to keep them open.
The students at the schools many with criminal backgrounds would have been returned to their home school districts. But the districts agreed to pay $425 per student and to commit to sending 200 students to the schools. The state reimburses the county Office of Education $8,150 per student.
Last year enrollment at the community schools totaled 393.
"We're hoping that (200 students) will be a starter number and we will be able to add students through the school year," said David Gordon, county superintendent of schools.
He expects districts are being conservative with the number of students they are committing to send, because of the money attached.
"This will help us break even," Gordon said of the fees from the districts.
This isn't the first time school districts have been asked to pitch in to keep the community schools afloat.
Costs to educate community school students began to outstrip state reimbursements in the early 2000s, and districts were asked to pay the difference. The county Office of Education withdrew that requirement in the 2009-10 school year, as districts began struggling financially.
Office of Education officials recently made changes to class sizes and to teaching staff at its community schools in order to bring down costs, Gordon said.
The district sent pink slips to all the teachers at its five community schools earlier this year, but has since hired back 23 of the 40 positions.
All the community schools will reopen after the summer break except the LINKS Academy at Marian Anderson School in south Sacramento. Sacramento City Unified is converting the site to a charter school, Gordon said.
County Office of Education officials are trying to find another community school site within Sacramento City Unified to replace Marian Anderson. Currently, the closest community school is in the Elk Grove Unified School District, Gordon said.
"We're arguing that it's in their interest to give us another site," Gordon said.