Special meeting will be held Oct. 7, with town halls and additional meetings in the coming weeks
At a special meeting this Wednesday, the West Sonoma County Union High School District (WSCUHSD) will be taking its first steps in discussing the possibility of consolidating El Molino and Analy. The meeting will be held on Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. To view the agenda and get the Zoom link for the meeting, click here.
The district's budget has been hit hard in recent years by dwindling student enrollment. COVID-19 has exacerbated that situation.
The district has been designated as “Qualified” seven of the past 10 years, meaning that it can meet its financial obligations in one budget year, but not in the subsequent two years. According to the district, it wasn’t deemed Qualified the additional three years due to one-time funds.
“In the most recent rounds of budget reductions, the district cut $1.2 million in 2018-19 and $1 million in the 2020-21 school years. This year, SCOE (Sonoma County Office of Education) has advised the district that it is again required to develop a Fiscal Recovery Plan to address a projected shortfall of $2 million in the 2022-23 school year,” reads the meeting agenda.
According to the district, a Budget Advisory Committee created in 2017-18 suggested two big-picture changes that could help the district stabilize its finances. The first is to investigate the option of unifying elementary school districts with the high school district (a study that they requested SCOE do), and the second is to consolidate Analy and El Molino high schools into one campus. As a result, the school district is looking into what it would look like to condense west county’s high schools.
“Declining enrollment and budget challenges have impacted the ability to offer rich programs at all of our school sites. Smaller student populations limit the number and variety of classes that the district can offer to students at individual school sites. Larger total number of students at one site would increase the school and district’s ability to keep and grow individual programs,” reads part of the background information for the discussion.
Wednesday’s presentation and discussion will be about three main areas:
● The facility and operations feasibility of consolidating the two high schools on to one campus
● The options related to utilizing the vacant campus to develop workforce housing
● The legal guidelines for the above processes
In the coming weeks, the district will be holding board and town hall meetings to allow for additional time for questions, discussions and public input.