Education

Update: Four conversion possibilities for closed Sacramento elementary schools

Ed Mellurio, career coach at La Familia, helps Connie Sylvia prepare her résumé for clerical work in 2011. La Familia is seeking to expand into Maple Elementary School, which was one of seven campuses closed in 2013.
Ed Mellurio, career coach at La Familia, helps Connie Sylvia prepare her résumé for clerical work in 2011. La Familia is seeking to expand into Maple Elementary School, which was one of seven campuses closed in 2013. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento City Unified trustees on Thursday night are expected to discuss re-use proposals from a private Waldorf school and three community groups that seek to operate at four elementary school campuses the district closed in 2013.

Fruit Ridge, Maple, Collis P. Huntington and Washington elementary schools were among seven campuses the district shut down due to falling enrollment, requiring about 2,300 students to relocate to other schools. Most of the schools were in low-income and predominantly minority neighborhoods.

About 10 months ago, the Sacramento city district formed a panel of community members to recommend how to convert the closed school sites. Among their conclusions: all of the school sites should be used for district programs or by community groups, with priority given to ideas and requests from neighborhood residents.

At the time, about 30 groups expressed interest in using the closed sites, which also included Joseph Bonnheim, Mark Hopkins and Clayton B. Wire elementary school campuses. Bonnheim since re-opened last fall as a dependent charter school, a designation in which the district provides teachers and administrative support.

Trustees at the upcoming board meeting can decide to authorize negotiations with none, some or all of the four groups to establish costs and terms.

Below is a look at the four organizations and their proposals for re-use of the Sacramento City Unified campuses:

Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative Support Center

School site: Fruit Ridge Elementary, 4625 44th St.

Proposal: Tao Holistics and Partners seeks to be the lead agency operating the proposed Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative Support Center. Partners include La Raza Galeria Posada, Black Parallel School Board, Hmong Women’s Heritage Association, Fenix Drum and Dance and PTA Clothes Closet.

Mission: Promote a multicultural, healthful, livable community with physical, educational, self-empowerment for all age groups. Enrich the community through holistic wellness, help with mental health issues and chronic conditions, youth mentoring and activities for seniors.

Offerings: Health education classes, wellness programs, organic and nutritional cooking classes, yoga, meditation, Zumba classes, aerobics and weight rooms. A job resource room would include job postings and support for résumés, job interviews and workforce skills. Relaxed dining area would sell moderately priced meals and drinks. Security would be present during evening hours.

Terms: Initially, the alliance requests rental fees be waived for partners who move into the building. The center would operate weekdays with limited Saturday hours for recreational and garden activities. Operation would be year-round.

La Familia Counseling Center

School site: Maple Elementary, 3301 37th Ave.

Proposal: La Familia would continue serving a south Sacramento neighborhood within a mile of the group’s current office. The existing office would remain open.

Mission: To improve the quality of life for at-risk youth and families by providing culturally sensitive counseling. Provide support as an individual center and in collaboration with social services agencies and groups.

Offerings: Mental and behavioral health counseling, parenting classes, crisis intervention, employment and training programs, writer’s workshop, youth leadership and summer free lunch and recreational programs.

Terms: La Familia seeks a minimum 10-year lease starting March 1 and would target a spring-summer opening. Interior modifications will be required for full operations, with predominantly weekday offerings but some weekend activities and special event hours.

Camellia Waldorf School

School site: Collis P. Huntington, 5921 26th St.

Proposal: Move the school 1.6 miles to the former elementary campus. Camellia Waldorf School is currently located behind a retail center on Freeport Boulevard next to Executive Airport.

Mission: Honor childhood, appreciate student individuality, instill moral and ethical responsibility, build learning capacity and encourage clear, creative thinking. The private school says it seeks to produce students who are superior critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.

Offerings: All enrollments, from preschool through middle grades, require tuition from $3,870 per year for three days at Rose Garden Preschool up to $9,940 per year for upper grades. Reduced tuition is possible for families with limited incomes or assets. The school also offers a parent and toddler program.

Terms: Camellia Waldorf proposes to use all classrooms at the campus but will collaborate with the school district on shared use of the sports fields. Waldorf operators want a lease with the district of 10 to 20 years. The school would follow an attendance schedule similar to that of the school district.

Sacramento Performing Arts Conservatory

School site: Washington Elementary, 520 18th St.

Proposal: An expansion site for the conservatory. The organization currently supports students at a half-dozen school districts in the region, with sessions held at various campuses.

Mission: Cultivate new generations of artists and performers through arts productions and training and encourage appreciation for the arts and cross-cultural understanding.

Offerings: Individual and group sessions for fees that are tied to the costs of providing instructors. The conservatory provides music and art therapy and music instruction and conducts student benefit performances at local senior citizen and nursing homes.

Terms: The conservatory cites financial support from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and private foundations, including the Thomas P. Raley Foundation. The conservatory also cited contracts with Sacramento City Unified and other local school districts.

Call The Bee’s Loretta Kalb, (916) 321-1073. Follow her on Twitter @LorettaSacBee.

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