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New data indicates Cordova High students are unaware of the proposed district split

Folsom Cordova Unified may split into two districts.

Following expressions of interest from Rancho Cordova residents, the Folsom Cordova Unified School District Board of Education has chosen to formally investigate a proposal to divide the district in two.

The board decided in August to proceed with a study that will look into the viability of splitting the district into two distinct districts that serve Rancho Cordova and Folsom. The district, together with the two cities, will split the $72,500 cost of the study. The report will be written by School Services of California.  According to Gold Country Media, the Folsom City Council approved the cost-sharing agreement last summer with the city of Rancho Cordova.

The feasibility study aims to provide an independent assessment that examines all aspects of the proposed split “to learn if the reorganization would meet the nine statutory criteria set forth by the California Department of Education,” said FCUSD Superintendent Sarah Kooligan, in an email response to Sac School Beat.

According to the Sacramento Bee, officials from local and state governments who decide whether district reorganizations are approved, review proposals based on nine criteria. They include:

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  • Each reorganized district must have an adequate number of pupils enrolled.
  • Each district must have a substantial community identity.
  • There must be an equitable division of property and facilities.
  • There must be no racial or ethnic discrimination and no segregation.
  • The state should not see a significant increase in costs.
  • School facilities should not see a significant increase in costs.
  • Both districts should have strong educational programs and performance.
  • The proposed reorganization should support fiscal management.
  • There should be other reasons for the reorganization other than to significantly increase property values.

A recent informal survey indicated most Cordova High School students know little or nothing about the proposed split.

Of 11 Cordova High students questioned on campus, only two were aware of the possible division of the district. Seven others were not, and two had heard of it, but needed to be made aware of the specifics.

If it’s not going to change much in terms of how the school operates, I really don’t have many objections, especially if the split will ensure that both districts will be better funded,” said one student. 

 “I think it’s a peculiar proposal but I would have to learn more before I could have an opinion on it,” said another student. “I wish our schools would mention it more.”

On June 8, the FCUSD board, and the city councils of Rancho Cordova and Folsom convened a special joint meeting to hear from city and school officials regarding the division of the district, which comprises 21,000 registered students. 

“Opinions at that meeting for separating the district were mixed, from favoring a separation to concerns a separation may create a negative impact.” said Angela Griffin, chief communications and community engagement officer for FCUSD. “The takeaway from all was that a feasibility study would allow the data from the study to inform the next steps.” 

This is the third attempt at splitting FCUSD. The first attempt was rejected by voters and the second did not get to that point before it was abandoned, said David Reid, president of the FCUSD school board.

In the second attempt, in 2002, a Sacramento County reorganization committee rejected the plan, citing concerns about racial or ethnic discrimination or segregation in the event of a break, according to the Sacramento Bee. The decision also took academic achievement and wealth into consideration.

Locals from Folsom led the initial reform effort in the 1990s. Reid said that the new effort is different.

“It’s coming from some residents in Rancho Cordova,” he said. “I would say the current desire to split the district that has been articulated by some is an effort to build an identity for the City of Rancho Cordova. The city is 20 years old and some see an advantage for Rancho Cordova to have a school district that aligns with its city borders.”

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About the Contributor
Kay Stout, Reporter
I am a queer, non-binary writer at Cordova High School. .
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