Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Charter school closes its doors

DSC_9288

GOLD OAK UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT Principal Sylvia Shannon, right, talks with Gold Oak Union District Superintendent/Principal Wendy La Due as they look at a mural on the wall at Gold Oak Charter School. The school closed its doors as of May 31 due to budget cuts. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By
From page A1 | June 04, 2012 |

Low enrollment, budget cuts doom Gold Oak Arts Charter School

Until recently, El Dorado County had 12 charter schools. But on May 31, one of them closed its doors.

A victim of declining enrollment and funding cuts to the district’s budget, the Gold Oak Union School District Board of Trustees voted to close its charter school after eight years of operation.

Wendy LaDue, Superintendent and Principal of the district, explained that 120 students were needed to make the arts-oriented program financially viable but that enrollment had been less than 60 for the last several years.

LaDue said one reason for fewer students signing up for the charter school was a general decline in the number of school age children in the district. Currently it enrolls 486 students.

“People are moving,” LaDue said. “They are leaving rural areas and leaving California as property becomes too expensive and as people seek greater economic opportunities elsewhere.”

In addition the district has experienced more than $2.5 million in budget cuts over the past three years and had been relying on funding from Gold Oak Elementary and Pleasant Valley Middle Schools to partially subsidize the charter school program.

Faced with possible cuts to its library, sports and music programs, the Board of Trustees made the decision to shut down the charter school.

According to LaDue, as with other school districts throughout the state, Gold Oak Union is being asked to keep the same programs going but with less money. “We’ve had no new money in five years, now going into our sixth year. We’re being asked to do more with less money,” she said.

“If the tax measure doesn’t pass in November, it could mean more cuts in the future. Our ultimate goal is to keep providing the best education we can with the resources we have for all our kids and do what’s best for everyone,” said LaDue.

Sylvia Shannon, the principal of both the charter school and the elementary school, said the charter school was using art as a medium to reach students in grades six through eight. “It was set up as an alternative to a traditional school because a lot of students out here are involved in the arts and theater,” she said.

“We used a lot of visiting artists and project-based learning,” she said. “It was a hands on approach with a lot of student projects. But we still met state academic standards. Every year we enrolled  over 100 students but in the last several years it’s been down to 50 or 60.”

One of the last projects the students took on was creating gifts for the teachers who worked directly with them. Those gifts consisted of hand-painted benches, stools and a small bridge that everyone had a hand in decorating. Sponsored by the school’s parent-teacher club, the May 30 event was called Dragon Days in honor of the school’s mascot.

Despite the charter school closing, LaDue said the district plans to provide similar opportunities to students in the Gold Oak Elementary and Pleasant Valley Middle School.

“A lot of the best practices in the charter school can be used in the regular program and we will provide those to all our students,” she said.

Dr. Vicki Barber, Superintendent of the El Dorado County Office of Education, said the county has lost about $22 million in school funding over the last three years and if the tax measure doesn’t pass in November, local schools could lose an additional $12 million.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

 
Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

 
Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
.

Sports

Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

 
Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

.

Prospecting

Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

 
Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

 
Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

 
Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

 
Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

.

Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17