Sunday, February 18 , 2018, 3:02 pm | A Few Clouds 62º


Orcutt District Will Consolidate Two School Campuses

Students enrolled in the K-8 Casmalia campus will learn from seats in an Olga Reed Elementary classroom this fall when two Orcutt Union School District schools consolidate under one roof in Los Alamos.

Combining the northern Santa Barbara County district campuses — located about 30 minutes, or 26 miles, apart — will provide larger facilities for the 81 students currently occupying three classrooms at the Oak-8 campus in Casmalia, one of two schools in the district’s Orcutt Academy Charter program.

After analyzing logistics and considering costs, the Orcutt board of trustees voted 4-0 Wednesday night to merge the rural campuses, with board chairman Jim Peterson absent.

Some Oak-8 teachers, parents and staff applauded the decision, which takes effect in the 2014-15 school year.

Now officials will scramble to create a bus schedule and smooth transition.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we're happy to do it,” said Joe Dana, district director of charter programs and lead administrator at both campuses. “We think this will be a good move for students and staff from both OAK-8 and Olga Reed.”

Dana sent a letter to parents late Wednesday, outlining changes and background for those who hadn’t yet heard about the move that’s already a year in the making.

Teachers at the Oak-8 campus in Casmalia outside Santa Maria spearheaded the idea as a way to offer more hands-on activities space, not to mention a gym, cafeteria, library, expansive playground, track and more.

The 196 students at Olga Reed won’t see a huge difference — the schools will function separately with different schedules and classroom programs — except that Oak-8 students will soon occupy five spare classrooms on the Helena Street side of campus.

The schools will, however, share lunchtimes, recesses, arts programming, physical education programming, emergency responsibilities and more, Dana said.

Officials hope to organize an event connecting students from both schools in the coming weeks, along with an evening for Oak-8 parents to check out the Los Alamos school.

“As site administrator for (Orcutt Academy) and Olga Reed, I sincerely believe that this idea will benefit students from both schools,” Dana said. “Students will have more potential acquaintances and friends, teachers will have more fellow teachers to talk to and collaborate with and the two schools can come together for special events.”

The Orcutt district absorbed Olga Reed from an ailing Los Alamos School District in 2011, and similarly took over Casmalia School, starting the charter program in 2008.

Dana said the district doesn’t know what will become of the Casmalia buildings, although Superintendent Bob Bush told Noozhawk they 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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >