H-ORCUTT

Dec 9, 2010 1:28 AM by Danielle Lerner

School Board delays decision on closing May Grisham Elementary School

An emotional night in Orcutt as students and parents rally to save a local elementary school.

People in Orcutt will have to wait a little longer to find out if May Grisham Elementary School will be shut down.

The Orcutt School District says May Grisham is getting about $1,000 less per student than it needs to function. So on Wednesday night board members discussed a proposal that would close May Grisham and send students to other schools in the district. However they delayed their decision until next week.

They protested back in October and on Wednesday night parents and students once again pleaded with school board members to keep May Grisham Elementary School open.

"We actually picked up and moved further into an area where we knew we could be at May Grisham, not just at any Orcutt school but at May Grisham," said one parent.

"The parents are really involved with the school, there's great teachers," said Danielle Rivera, a parent who also heads up the group Save May Grisham. "It should be set up as an example, not as a school that's being basically split down the middle."

Under the proposal students would be sent to other elementary schools in the district.

"We would send them by neighborhood, try to keep kids together as much as we can," said District Superintendent Bob Bush.

Bush also says the proposed reorganization of May Grisham comes down to dollars and cents.

"We can't afford to keep all of our schools running the way we've always done," he said.

Still some parents feel future land development is fueling the decision.

"I don't think the May Grisham kids should have to suffer because of this," said Rivera.

A controversial topic in a close-knit community. As the battle to save May Grisham continues.

"It's been a real pleasure, it's been a real nice pleasure going to Mae Grisham," said one student. "It'll be really sad if nobody really cares if we don't go to school."

Even though the board did not make a decision on Mae Grisham they did vote to pursue a reorganization with the Los Alamos School District. It would basically make the Olga Reed K-8 school a member of the Orcutt School District. However, administrators say that reorganization could take more than a year.

As for what's next in the Mae Grisham debate, board members will hold a public question and answer session December 14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lakeview Junior High. The school board is hoping to make a decision during its next meeting on Wednesday, December 15.

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