On Thursday, February 3, 2011, more than a dozen of our WestPark-Fiddyment Farm neighbors attended the Roseville City School District board meeting. On the agenda was the update on the projected opening date for Barbara Chilton Middle School. This matter was placed on the agenda after concerned residents questioned the January 28th notification that the lease agreement to St. John’s School for the use of Chilton for another year. Richard Pierucci, Superintendent, started off by reminding the audience that both Junction and Chilton schools were built by the developers for WestPark and Fiddyment Farms, not by the school district. The developers would be responsible for maintenance of the facilities until the school opened, when the school district would then take over. When the school was completed, the school district determined there were not enough projected students to open the school.
In 2008, St. John’s Church authorities approached the school district about using the Chilton facilities while their new church and school were being built; St. John’s would therefore be responsible for costs of maintenance and utilities, and the campus would not be sitting derelict. This latest agreement was seen as a benefit to all the parties at that time, and St. John’s paid $50,000 for 2010/11 and now $120,000 for 2011/12. The new lease will extend the opening of Chilton to August 2012.
The Chilton campus issue followed a presentation of the state’s projected shortfall between $11-17 million, depending on a possible ballot measure to extend current fees that would end in 2011. Mr. Pierucci indicated that although teacher costs were not involved in the opening of a campus (teachers follow the students), costs would include staffing (principal, secretary, 2 custodians, library/media specialists, noon-duty personnel, library books, PE and science equipment), totaling approximately $300,000 a year. Mr. Pierucci said these costs used to be offset by lottery money, but with the economic slump, those funds have been ‘swept’ for other uses. However, he stated the rent from St. John’s have been used to off-set the school’s costs. He stated the decision to not open Chilton was not a cost issue, but rather one based on lack of students. They require 300 student occupancy to open a campus and, based on their figures from Junction Elementary and Cooley Middle School, they do not feel they will have enough to open Chilton this year.
A number of our residents made statements to the school board stating their concerns and frustration with the school district’s decision. Ryan Pinney felt the projected student figures were lower than the population might indicate; and that he would like to see the 8th grade included when the school would open in 2012. Mr. Pierucci said their figures were fairly close in their last year’s figures—only 20-30 students low, and if there was a strong interest shown by the neighborhood to have 8th grade included, they would be open to consider it.
Aaron Herman and Guy Burghgraef questioned the mello roos assessments residents pay for the school services not being provided. While Mr. Pierucci responded that the school district received no mello roos fees from the City, he later stated they do share in some of the funds for the common/public areas. Aaron also expressed his concerns that 5th graders were too young to be included in the middle school. Several speakers expressed their concerns that the lease extension was done without prior notice to the residents after Mr. Pierucci had previously stated he would give advance notice for public comment of any further delays opening Chilton. Sue Cook asked about Mr. Pierucci’s previous suggestion of sharing the Chilton campus with St. John’s school; Mr. Pierucci said they would not share the campus, and St. John’s enrollment had increased so that they now use the full campus.
A key topic was the transportation fees that the WestPark-Fiddyment Farm residents must pay for having their children bussed to Cooley , and that there is only one pick-up spot, located at Junction Elementary and students must be taken there first. Mr. Pierucci directed school district staff to research the transportation issues and placed the matter for response on the February 17th agenda.
Mr. Pierucci also mentioned that the next elementary school (F-70) north of Blue Oaks was tentatively scheduled to begin construction in spring of 2012 and open in August of 2013. They would be reappraising the school districts to divide enrollment prior to that.
Mr. Pierucci will provide the slide presentation for access through the WFFNA website for your review.
Next School District Board Meeting:
Thursday, February 17, 2011 @ 6:00 p.m. at the District Office
1050 Main Street, Roseville, CA.
Submitted by Sue Cook
Superintendent Pierucci's Presentation can be downloaded below: