Twin Ridges Elementary School District board to reconsider Washington School closure |

Twin Ridges Elementary School District board to reconsider Washington School closure

More than four months after voting to close Washington School, the Twin Ridges Elementary School District Board of Trustees is set to reconsider the fate of the one-room schoolhouse.

The board has called a special meeting for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Washington School to discuss whether the school should close at the end of June, as scheduled, or remain open.

The meeting is the culmination of several months of debate on whether closing the school will bring financial relief to the district — the major motivation cited by the board when it voted 4-1 in January to close the 10-student, K-8 program.

The school district, which also includes around 100 K-8 students at Grizzly Hill School, is currently battling a nearly $300,000 budget deficit — and district officials have said the estimated $200,000 it takes to operate Washington School is threatening the district’s long-term financial health.

However, since the board made its decision, the financial impact of closing Washington School has become murkier — something its school parents have pointed to as proof the board acted too hastily and without complete information when it voted to close the school.

Figures presented by Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen to the Twin Ridges board of trustees at its March 8 meeting projected the school district would save around $108,900 in the 2016-2017 school year if it closed Washington School as planned in June.

Those savings are projected to fall to an estimated $56,800 in the 2017-2018 school year; the school district would see an estimated ongoing annual savings of $44,800 beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.

The discrepancies between the county office of education’s numbers and the school district’s figures prompted the district to contract with School Services of California, a Sacramento-based agency that provides business, financial, management and advocacy services to the state’s schools, to run independent calculations.

That agency has estimated the district would lose somewhere between $6,962 and $61,320 in revenue if it closes Washington School, depending on whether the students who currently attend Washington School leave the district when the school closes.

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email or call 530-477-4230.

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