MODESTO -- Sylvan Union trustees agreed on shifts to school boundaries for next year, deciding to allow middle-schoolers now at Savage to go through eighth grade, but without busing. Current Sherwood Elementary students living in what's been called the "Woodrow pocket" will be able to continue at their school.
Trustees voted unanimously to move C.F. Brown Elementary-area students to Somerset Middle School instead of Savage Middle School and to shift future Sherwood Elementary students living west of McHenry Avenue to Woodrow Elementary.
The vote was unanimous to shift the map lines and grandfather all students now at Savage, and let affected Sherwood fourth-graders stay for their last year. A motion to provide busing to the grandfathered Savage students died for lack of a second so it won't be provided.
The vote was 3 to 2, with George Rawe and Cynthia Lindsey dissenting, to let all current Sherwood students remain at the school.
Board members debated the cost of busing Savage students and the fairness and wisdom of letting Sherwood students not yet in fourth grade stay there.
Rawe said the $52,000 cost of busing Savage students was too much for a district that is deficit spending. "I believe strongly we are shirking our responsibility (to balance the budget)."
Arguing for the busing was Terriann Zeek, who said money had been budgeted and the grandfathering for younger students affects very few students. "I would say there are many responsibilities a board member has, including the emotional well-being of our students," Zeek said.
Speaking against grand- fathering younger students, board President Lindsey said forging student friendships during early grades is important.
In others matters, the board:
Encouraged attendance at two town hall meetings on school-day schedule changes proposed for next year. Tonight's is at 7 at Standiford Elementary, 605 Tokay Ave. The second will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Stockard Coffee Elementary.
Unveiled its opening bargaining position in negotiations with teachers. The proposal calls for discussions on wages, benefits and use of an evaluation system.
Heard Sylvan Superintendent John Halverson report on school safety. The district is meeting with Modesto police today. It is looking into updating maps to digital form for emergency use and improving its system of reaching parents in a crisis.
Voted unanimously to give layoff notices to 17 teachers whose jobs are contingent on programs that may not be funded next year. The board also passed seniority criteria to use in layoffs.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at (209) 578-2339.