Small south valley town pushing back against school merger

Local News

STRATFORD, California (KGPE) – A small south valley community is pushing back against a possible school merger.

Stratford parents, students, and community members held a town hall regarding rumors that Stratford Elementary and Central Elementary will combine classes, with K-4th attending Stratford and 5th-8th grades attending Central.

“We don’t want it,” said resident Thomas Hamilton. “If we wanted our kids to go to Central, we would have sent them to Central.”

The small town of fewer than one thousand people doesn’t have a grocery store or a recreation center, but Hamilton said residents take pride in the local elementary school.

“Do you think people come here because we have an abundant supply of stuff?” questioned Hamilton. “No, they come here for the school, that is what we have.”

Parents and community members signed a petition against the merger of the two schools that are only six miles apart. They say there will be problems with athletics and transportation.

Pastor Ray Avina said to this point none of the parents have been notified of the possible change.

“We feel like as a community we should at least have some say in it and have a voice,” said Avina.

Each school has a little over 200 students, with around 20 children per grade.

The plan has not been approved but the group said the district is considering the change to improve education due to a drop in enrollment.

“We are a small town, but we are not gonna take it,” said Hamilton.

Members of the group plan to meet with the school officials in the middle of this week before the scheduled board meeting to show them the petition and the list of concerns parents have.

Our station has reached out to the officer of the superintendent and the school board but has not heard back.

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