In the 2019-20 school year, sixth-grade students from Jenny Lind and Valley Springs Elementary Schools will be moving to Toyon Middle School.
At the Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) board meeting on Oct. 16, the move was passed 4-1 by the Board Members on the decision to move the students. Only one board member, Karan Bowsher, offered a firm “no.”
Sixth-grade students at the other CUSD schools will not be making the move, including students at Mokelumne Hill Elementary (MHE), Rail Road Flat Elementary (RRF), San Andreas Elementary (SAE) and West Point Elementary (WPE).
One parent attendee at the meeting shook her head in disappointment after the vote was passed.
“I just think it’s a decision based on curriculum and not on student’s well-being, and it comes at a time when they’re talking deficit spending and making a lot of cuts,” Celeste Garamendi said. “Two issues there.”
Feedback and concerns about the proposed move have been sought and collected over the last five months by parents and staff at individual meetings held at JLE, MHE, RRF, SAE, WPE, and VSE.
A survey sent out by the district earlier this year took a poll of parent’s opinions on the subject. Out of 239 respondents (64 percent of parents, 18 percent of staff and 18 percent of parents/staff), 55 percent supported the move and 45 percent did not. A total of 61 percent of parents polled approved of only moving JLE and VSE sixth graders to Toyon, while 39 percent of those surveyed were not in favor.
Mark Campbell, CUSD Superintendent, is optimistic about the move.
“We are excited by the possibilities regarding addressing instructional areas through staff collaboration. We look forward to the transition and positive impacts in our instructional program and culture/climate,” Campbell said. “Our staff will work hard and collaboratively to make this transition as smooth and productive as possible for students and staff.”
Other topics of discussion at the meeting on Oct. 16 included the approval of Williams Settlement Legislation Quarterly Report, the Rural School Bus Pilot Project Grant Resolution No. 2018-19-13 and the English Learners (EL) Reclassification Form. The board passed all three items in a vote of 5-0. Heather Brandt was also announced as the new vice principal at Calaveras High School.