The enrollment at James W. Marshall Elementary School may rise next year, but not in a way most parents like.
A.M. Winn Elementary School, a Rancho Cordova school in the Sacramento City Unified School District, may be closed and its students split between James Marshall and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. A.M. Winn will hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the proposal, which was made by a special district committee and backed by Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.
The committee also recommended closing two other schools, and relocating and co-locating others. It selected schools based on enrollment figures and trends, the condition of the school and the cost per student at the school.
"Nobody likes closing schools," said Sacramento City Unified School District Trustee Donald Terry, who represents Rosemont and Rancho Cordova. "Everybody wants to keep their schools open, [but] in the end it costs money for every school site that we keep open."
Terry said he hadn't yet decided whether closing A.M. Winn would be the right decision for the area. It would save roughly $180,000, but could leave students walking miles to school if future state budget cuts eliminate district buses, as was initially proposed this year.
"If we combined A.M. Winn and Lincoln at Lincoln, you're going to have pretty much the largest attendance area for any elementary school in the district," Terry said. "I'm not a fan of 5-year-olds having to walk that far."
No one knows exactly how far the students currently at A.M. Winn would have to travel. If the school is closed, new attendance boundaries would have to be drawn, so it's uncertain how many would attend Rosemont's James W. Marshall Elementary School.
"A.M. Winn is almost directly between James Marshall and Abe Lincoln, so the students would split between Marshall and Lincoln depending on where they live," said Gabe Ross, a district spokesman.
Both schools have room for more students, he said. James Marshall has about 400 students and a 900-student capacity, while Abraham Lincoln has about 500 students and a 680-student limit, he said. Ross said there are currently about 350 students at A.M. Winn.
James Marshall Principal Marla Van Laningham said the impact on her school would likely be small, but said her school hasn't been a part of any official discussions about what could happen next.
"I don't even think my parents know," Van Laningham said. "I haven't put it out there; I think that should come from the district."
She said she plans to attend Wednesday's community meeting at A.M. Winn, but only heard about it because A.M. Winn Principal Michael Kast invited her.
Kast declined to comment for this story, other than to say the meeting Wednesday will be an opportunity for the community to have its voice heard by the district.
If A.M. Winn is closed, Kast's position and several others at the school would be eliminated, but that doesn't mean those people would necessarily lose their jobs, Ross said.
"These people may have the ability to go to a different site" if their positions are eliminated, Ross said. The same would go for A.M. Winn's teachers, who would be moved to different schools and would not lose their jobs, Ross said.
Community meetings are planned for the schools slated for closure, and the district's Board of Education will hear an update at its Dec. 8 meeting. A final decision could be made at the following meeting.
A.M. Winn community meeting:
6:30 p.m. Wednesday
3351 Explorer Dr., Sacramento, CA 95827