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Group aiming to unify Galt school districts holds petition drive

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Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:01 am, Fri Feb 3, 2012.

The citizens group seeking to unify the two Galt school districts is planning to move forward with a petition drive. The decision comes after both school boards declined to fund a budget analysis study.

In September, former high school board trustee Sue Roberts led the effort to put the idea before the boards, but it was received with less-than-enthusiastic applause.

“Due to the budget crisis, our board did not want to proceed on spending funds on a unification fiscal study at this time. Without this study, it is risky to move forward with unification,” Superintendent Karen Schauer, of the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, said this week.

The Galt Joint Union High School District board also voted against using its financial resources to analyze the possible cost benefit.

“If the community is able to come up with the signatures needed for a ballot measure ... the board will see that as a reason to revisit the issue,” high school Superintendent Daisy Lee said.

The citizens group is poised to do just that. A meeting is to take place Monday in which they will decide how best to distribute the petition and how may signatures should be collected, according to Roberts. The education code requires at least 10 percent of the area’s registered voters.

The study is not required to move forward in the possible unification process. However, without the support of the school districts, the process could take two to three years.

After collecting signatures, the petition will be forwarded to the Sacramento County Office of Education. There is no time limit in collecting the signatures.

However, the petition has already been written and reviewed by an attorney with the office of education and the Sacramento County Registrar’s Office, according to Roberts.

“We’re on our way,” she said.

When she reintroduced the idea, Roberts said it was important for the school districts to study potential cost savings by not only combining administrator salaries, but also creating corresponding instructional calendars and seamless curriculum that would flow between grades.

Currently, when students leave the elementary district following eighth grade, they have not learned the skills necessary for ninth grade in the high school district, some have claimed.

Community members have long discussed unifying the two districts, with the last formal discussion occurring in 2005 when a parent revived the issue and formed a committee to examine the issue. In the end, the elementary district decided at that time it wasn’t cost-effective to merge.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • Dennis Duffy posted at 9:09 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Dennis Duffy Posts: 2

    Years ago my wife, Tonya, and a couple friends collected petitions for this very same thing. We obtained around 1,500 in a week. Talk to any paid petition gatherer and you will learn that in Galt that is a big number for one week of signatures. I collected about 500 in one weekend at SaveMart.

    We were met with sympathetic ears, but the measure failed to take off. Main reason, people realize their elected position is in jeopardy because a unified district means less seats on the board, so they get cold feet.

     

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