SALIDA -- Salida Union's Mildred Perkins Elementary School campus, shuttered by budget cuts in 2010, may have students dancing through the halls once again under a lease with the Stanislaus County Office of Education.
The Salida Union School District board decided to move forward with the plan, which must be approved by the Stanislaus County Board of Education. The lease then would return to Salida trustees as a vote on a contract, probably at the March 19 meeting, said Salida Superintendent Twila Tosh.
Perkins is being eyed as space for the YES Company, instruction rooms for individual study students and another program still in the making, said Scott Kuykendall, division director of alternative education for the county office.
The lease is seen as an interim solution while the county office looks into buying and remodeling a permanent facility. It has bid on the former Ray Starn Auto Body shop at 10th and E streets in downtown Modesto, but even if that purchase goes forward, the space would not be finished for next year, he said.
The county office primarily serves students expelled by regular school districts, special-needs students and preschoolers. Two classes of autistic students and two Head Start classes already are on the Perkins campus, Kuykendall said.
The Youth Entertainment Stage or YES Company is a performing-arts program run by the county office. Junior high and high school students would be bouncing to a "Ragtime" beat in the large Perkins multipurpose room this summer if the arrangement works out.
Space for everything
"It would be one location where we can accommodate the office, the costume shop and rehearsal space," Kuykendall said. The troupe now squeezes into a building shared with Valley Charter High and Modesto Junior College.
The Salida board closed Perkins after a miscalculation left it struggling to make ends meet on a financial recovery plan. Since then, the district has raised class sizes to 30 for primary grades and 33 for fourth grade through junior high, laid off staff and cut other expenses.
Earlier this month, the district authorized precautionary layoff notices for 2013-14 be sent to 15 teachers and one administrator, Tosh said. Teachers must be given notice by March 15 if their positions might be eliminated the next year.
Savings would be $847,867 if all the layoffs come to pass.
Tosh said the district is bracing for potential cuts to federal education programs if the "sequester" happens in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Many of the jobs potentially cut were for intervention services paid with federal funding.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339, on Twitter, @NanAustin, www.modbee.com/education.