Sunnyside board to discuss hearing on school closures

2013-12-10T00:00:00Z Sunnyside board to discuss hearing on school closuresBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board is expected to decide at tonight’s board meeting when the district will hold a public hearing on the possible closure of two schools.

District officials want to close Los Ranchitos Elementary School and Chaparral Middle School to close a budget deficit after voters rejected an override last month.

The district is looking to save $6 million.

The proposed cuts, which also would include teachers, elementary-school specialists, campus monitors and other cuts in administration and central maintenance, will save about $5 million.

The Governing Board approved those cuts at its Nov. 26 meeting.

Tonight’s board meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at district headquarters, 2238 E. Ginter Road.

Sunnyside officials also are scheduled to give an update on an analysis of district enrollment patterns, which will be used to help relocate students of Los Ranchitos.

The district wants to convert the elementary school to a health and wellness center.

In addition, the analysis should give insight into how the district could expand its other elementary schools to sixth grade.

Officials expect Chaparral to be closed for a year before reopening it as a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade fine-arts school. Other changes include redesigning Ocotillo Early Learning Center to a pre-kindergarten-through-first-grade early-childhood center.

The Governing Board approved the tentative cuts despite objections from board members Daniel Hernandez Jr. and Buck Crouch, as well as staff members who felt district leaders did not seek their input.

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