Community thrilled elementary school staying open |

Community thrilled elementary school staying open

Lauretta Muzio is “overjoyed” her two children will continue to attend Pleasant Ridge School in Grass Valley next year.

Board members of the Pleasant Ridge Union School district decided this month to keep the south county school open after spending more than a year discussing whether it should be closed due to districtwide declining enrollment.

“We are excited about the opportunity for families living west of Highway 49 to be able to come to this school and be a part of our community,” Muzio said. “On our side – west of Highway 49 – we don’t have big businesses or large housing communities. So for us, the school is our community.”

Nancy LaBarge, first-grade teacher at Pleasant Ridge School, agreed with Muzio.

“It’s exhilarating because we have such a sense of community here,” LaBarge said. “With most of our families not living in neighborhoods, we use our school as our center for education, social events and friendships.

“There are many families, where the parents have been to this school and are now bringing their children back,” she said. “So we have a lot of history.”

Pleasant Ridge School is the oldest school in Pleasant Ridge Union School District. It was established in 1959.

Muzio was part of the District Enrollment Focus Group appointed by the school district “to market the district to the community and to seek creative ways to cut costs,” Linda Rooney, superintendent of Pleasant Ridge Union School District said.

Rooney reached out to local realtors and community members with advertisements, brochures and other promotional materials, Rooney said. In addition, the school district cut the number of hours for the librarian and instructional aides, and consolidated the custodial and maintenance positions at Pleasant Ridge School, Rooney added.

The efforts of the focus group have come to fruition.

“Currently we have 32 kindergartners enrolled for next year,” Muzio said. “At this time, last year, we had just 13 kindergartners.”

Pleasant Ridge School is a kindergarten through fifth-grade school on Duggans Road in Grass Valley. It has a total of 225 students, Rooney said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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