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Lodi Unified School District trustees vote to close Tokay Colony School

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Posted: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:00 am

Saying the numbers don’t justify the cost of keeping it open, Lodi Unified School District trustees voted unanimously on Tuesday to close Tokay Colony School at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

The K-6 school, located on East Live Oak Road near Jack Tone Road, reported 84 students enrolled as of Oct. 24. That includes only seven students in kindergarten and six in first grade.

“It is with a very heavy heart (we) have to make this decision tonight,” board member Bonnie Cassel said at Tuesday night’s meeting, which drew several Tokay Colony parents.

Students who would be attending Tokay Colony in the 2014-15 school year must instead choose whether to attend Live Oak Elementary School on Bear Creek Road southeast of Armstrong Road and Highway 99, or Lockeford Elementary School on Tully Road.

School administrators surveyed parents from Tokay Colony, Live Oak, Lockeford and Victor schools to see if they would be interested in enrolling their children in a magnet school emphasizing technology that would have been located on the Tokay Colony campus. However, only 71 parents showed interest, Lodi Unified Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer told the board.

“It’s a sad day for all of us, but thank you for trying,” long-time Tokay Colony teacher Sonja Renhult told the board and district staff.

Nichols-Washer said that the district will save about $127,000 by closing Tokay Colony. It would have cost $180,200 to adopt the technology magnet program.

Jennifer Berger, wearing a purple and gold Tokay Colony T-shirt, said after the board’s vote was taken that she, too, is disappointed that the school will close. Berger has a son attending Tokay Colony and a younger daughter who would have attended the school once she was old enough.

“It’s a small school — everybody knows everybody,” Berger said.

She added that teachers are directly involved with children’s families at Tokay Colony. The school is also used for community events like 4-H meetings, Berger said.

“You guys did just a phenomenal job,” board President Ralph Womack told Tokay Colony teachers.

Cassel said the silver lining to the school closure is the outstanding quality of Lockeford and Live Oak schools.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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