Monday, May 2 , 2016, 5:10 am | Overcast 56º

Orcutt District Soliciting Input on Possible School Relocation

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Parents will weigh in this month on the possibility of moving the Orcutt Union School District’s K-8 Casmalia campus into larger facilities at Olga Reed Elementary in Los Alamos.

The district hosted an informational meeting Monday night in Orcutt, with a second planned for 5:30 p.m. next Monday at Olga Reed.

A survey and further district cabinet meetings are also slated for this month so Superintendent Bob Bush can present an in-depth analysis of costs and logistics to the board of education, most likely no earlier than May.

Teachers at the Oak-8 campus in Casmalia — one of two schools in the district’s Orcutt Academy Charter program — have spearheaded the idea since last fall as a way to provide more hands-on activities space than is available at the three-classroom rural school serving 81 students outside Santa Maria.

Campus relocation could occur as early as August, since Olga Reed already has nine open classrooms ready for use, according to the superintendent.

Bush said he couldn’t discount the fact that board members might want more time to decide whether to combine campuses located about 30 minutes, or 26 miles, apart.

The board tabled the relocation discussion four months ago, but recently redirected staff to solicit input and revisit costs after finding a more favorable budget outlook than in past years.

“There’s concern on the board’s part, and that’s OK,” Bush said. “The big issue is going to be transportation. There are some things that (the schools) can share, but they also are different.”

The distinction is drawn between Olga Reed, as a public school, and Oak-8, as a charter dependent on the district. Both have the same principal, however, in Joe Dana, district director of charter programs.

Dana said more than two dozen parents and staff attended this week’s information meeting, providing mostly positive feedback.

Many understood that Olga Reed’s rural campus would give Oak-8 students and teachers access to a gym, a cafeteria, a library, an expansive playground a track and more.

“It was an opportunity for us to talk a little bit about how the idea might operationalize on the Olga Reed campus,” Dana said. “Folks were able to ask questions.

“We’re a ways away from taking it to the board. Sometimes the difficult stuff is in the details.”

Bush said the discussion would also include what would happen to the hypothetically vacant Casmalia school buildings, which could possibly house the charter’s growing Independent Study Program currently located within Alice Shaw Elementary.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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