Nampa School Board votes to close Sunny Ridge Elementary

Credit: Mike di Donato/ KTVB

Nampa School Board votes to close Sunny Ridge Elementary

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by Kim Fields

Bio | Email | Follow: @KimFieldsKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 5:20 AM

Sunny Ridge Elementary School

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NAMPA -- The Nampa School Board voted Monday night to close Sunny Ridge Elementary School beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. The move will save the financially struggling school district nearly a half-million dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Michaelson updated school board members on the district's financial situation Tuesday. He says the Nampa School District is facing an even larger budget deficit than first projected. The Nampa School District is projected to end the 2012-2013 school year $5.1 million in the hole. Previously, the district projected a $4.3 million deficit.

Michaelson told the school board under budgeted and unbudgeted items, such as reduced attendance rates and a lack of Title One money from the federal government, caused the district to go deeper into debt. Michaelson says other items, such as legal expenses, an audit, and an increase in maintenance and custodial services are also to blame for the larger deficit.

TEACHERS TO KEEP JOBS

Michaelson informed school board members he does not expect any teachers at Sunny Ridge Elementary to lose their jobs. Michaelson said attrition among other teachers throughout the district will allow Sunny Ridge teachers to keep their jobs. However, Michaelson said classified, non-teaching positions at Sunny Ridge could be reduced. The majority of Sunny Ridge students will be moved to Lake Ridge Elementary and others to Iowa and Reagan elementary schools.

The majority of public comment before the school board about Sunny Ridge was against the closure. Many parents voiced their sadness over the loss of their tight-knit, neighborhood school.  Others against the closure were more upset, accusing the school board and district of deceit.  They questioned why the board didn't disclose the possible closure of Sunny Ridge before last week's supplemental levy vote.  However, Michaelson said public talks of possible school closures were discussed as early as December.

A minority of parents were in favor of the decision to close Sunny Ridge, saying the district needs to be financially stable. They voiced their support that the decision to close Sunny Ridge affects the least amount of students.

DISTRICT KEEPS DUAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL, ELIMINATES BUSING

The Nampa School Board also voted to keep New Horizons Dual Language Magnet Elementary School, a K-5 program. New Horizons had been considering an expansion to a middle school to keep students on a dual language track. Now graduated 5th grade students will go on to attend the middle school they are currently zoned for, not New Horizons.

On a 3-2 vote, the Nampa School Board approved the Financial Recommendation Committee's final recommendation, to eliminate busing at New Horizons Dual Language Magnet Elementary School. Parents will now have to provide their students transportation to and from school.

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