Displaced Sac City elementary students stay closer to home

Published: Saturday, Apr. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 11:58 am

Hundreds of students at schools soon to close in the Sacramento City Unified School District have pushed for transfers to nearby schools rather than pursue the most sought- after campuses in the district, open enrollment data show.

And most students, regardless of whether they were affected by school closure, were successful in getting their first or second choice through open enrollment, district officials say.

Spokesman Gabe Ross said the district will mail letters to families on Monday notifying them of student placements. Registration at new schools is scheduled for May 13 to 24.

Nearly 2,300 students were enrolled this year at seven campuses that the district will close in a bid to cut costs. Those campuses are Washington, Maple, Collis P. Huntington, Fruit Ridge, Joseph Bonnheim, Mark Hopkins and Clayton B. Wire.

The district assigned students displaced by closure to new campuses. The receiving schools for Washington students, for example, are William Land and Theodore Judah. And the receiving schools for Fruit Ridge are Father Keith B. Kenny and Oak Ridge.

But 469 children in school closure areas opted instead to choose their own schools through open enrollment, a total that includes entering kindergartners. They received priority over the other open enrollment applications filed throughout the district for elementary schools.

That priority gave the displaced students an edge in seeking campuses such as Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School and Camellia Basic Elementary School, where competition is keen. But few took advantage of that edge.

About 70 applicants from closing schools pursued enrollments at the five most sought-after open enrollment campuses: da Vinci, Hearst, Sutterville, Camellia and Bret Harte. Some of those schools impose academic or parent participation requirements.

More often, displaced students chose campuses near their closed schools. Many turned to neighborhood schools such as Hollywood Park, Mark Twain, Nicholas and Peter Burnett.

Families of displaced children have expressed a number of reasons for using open enrollment. Among them: convenience to work or home or dissatisfaction with their newly assigned campus.

One parent said last month that she used open enrollment to avoid having her 8-year-old daughter enrolled at a school with older kids at a converted Rosa Parks K-8 campus.

All but five of the 469 closure-area students using open enrollment received their first or second school choice. Of those, 432 students got their first choice, and 32 received their second choice.

Three displaced students are on a waiting list. Two others failed to win seats in campuses that either set academic criteria for enrollment or require parents to make large commitments of involvement in their children's educations.

Call The Bee's Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee. Read her Report Card blog at http://blogs.sacbee.com/report-card/.

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