The Grade Blog

Tuesday, Apr 29 2014 08:54 PM

Board delays decision on dissolving Richland School District

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    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    A lot of concerned teachers, parents and the general public showed up to the special Richland School District board meeting held at the Golden Oak Elementry School in Shafter to voice ther opinions about the unification of Shafter High School and Richland School District.

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  2. 2 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Pablo Reyes, a teacher at Shafter High School, talks to the Richland School District board, and has copies of part of a feasability study about the unification of Shafter High School and the Richland School District.

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  3. 3 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Michael Carty, a long-time resident of Shafter, tells the Richland School District board members his feelings about the possibility of unifying Shafter High School and the Richland School District.

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  4. 4 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Benjamin Rosenbaum, a lawyer representing the Richland School District, states some of the legal parameters the district has to comform to before putting the unification out to the public for a vote.

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  5. 5 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Benjamin Rosenbaum, a lawyer representing the Richland School District, states some of the legal parameters the district has to comform to before putting the unification out to the public for a vote.

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  6. 6 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Shafter High School English teacher Natalie Feinberg talks to Richland School District board members about what is best for the students in the area. She talked about what is right and wrong, and that the kids are watching the adults. Feinberg also said before any vote to combine the Richland School District with Shafter High School, the public, parents and board should communicate like educated and civilized adults.

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  7. 7 of 7

    By Rod Thornburg / Special to The Californian

    Benjamin Rosenbaum, a lawyer representing the Richland School District, states some of the legal parameters the district has to comform to before putting the unification idea out to the public for a vote.

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BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer lforeman@bakersfield.com

SHAFTER -- School board members in the Richland School District delayed any decision on the divisive option to establish a unified school district Tuesday at a special board meeting held at Golden Oaks Elementary School.

The board appointed a two-member subcommittee of board members Tony Aguirre and Tammy Criswell to advise consultants and determine whether unification is feasible in Shafter.

But board members decided to push back the current timeline and not pursue a ballot measure in the November election.

A decision to unify would dissolve the Richland School District that serves four elementary schools and instead establish a K-12 district that includes Shafter High School, which is currently in the Kern High School District.

School board and legal officials said the board has not started the legal process of unification.

The district conducted a feasibility study, finalized March 31, to determine if Richland met a set of nine state criteria districts must fulfill if they decide to unify.

The study concluded that a unified district was feasible and "has the potential to meet" the nine criteria.

But teachers and other community members raised concerns Tuesday about a potential loss of student services and the motives behind establishing a new district.

Natalie Feinberg, an English teacher at Shafter High, said the unification process could mean benefits like streamlined resources and added funding. She emphasized that regardless of the decision the community, district and school board members should make it together.

"Citizens have a right to be a part of this," she said.

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