José Luis Villegas Athena Fox, 7, prepares to march with other Mark Hopkins Elementary School students to protest a plan to close 11 Sacramento elementary schools. A letter writer says high-performing schools should be kept open.

Sacramento City district may swap 2 elementary schools on closure list

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 - 11:34 am

The vote on whether to close Tahoe Elementary in Tahoe Park is being delayed by the Sacramento City Unified School District, which is instead considering whether to close Mark Twain Elementary.

The district began notifying parents of children at both schools Wednesday about the possible change, said district spokesman Gabe Ross.

Sacramento City Unified trustees are weighing the closure of 11 under-enrolled elementary schools. The vote on the other 10 schools will continue as planned on Feb. 21.

Trustees will vote on whether to close Tahoe or Mark Twain elementary school on March 7. Mark Twain is on 58th Street, about a mile from Tahoe Elementary.

Ross said concerns at a Tahoe Elementary community meeting prompted district officials to reconsider their plan.

Currently, Mark Twain students eat lunch at West Campus High School due to the elementary school not having a fully equipped kitchen.

Tahoe Elementary parents voiced concerns about that arrangement.

Ross said there were also traffic concerns regarding future construction at West Campus High School with recently passed Measures Q and R bond money.

A meeting at Mark Twain Elementary to discuss the potential closure is scheduled for Feb. 27.

"We want to gather feedback from the Mark Twain community," Ross said.

Sacramento City Unified ranked schools based on their capacity in order to select 11 schools for closure.

The district has lost 10 percent of its enrollment in the past decade and expects further declines in the future.

The district said its 56 elementary schools are operating at 56 percent of capacity.

Mark Twain was the next school on the closure list after the district skipped three schools that are part of a "Priority Schools" program and another school that would likely see its enrollment increase from the closure of a school higher on the list.

Mark Twain has 393 students on a campus the district says can fit 876, which puts the school at 40 percent capacity.

Tahoe Elementary has 315 students on a campus where the district says the capacity is 788. That's a capacity rate of 45 percent.

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