Teach Elementary may move to former Pacheco school site

acornejo@thetribunenews.comNovember 15, 2013 

The San Luis Coastal Unified School District meeting was crowded Tuesday, Feb. 19, for budget discussions. The largest group appeared to be supporters of Teach school, but comments included support for librarians and counselors, too.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Teach Elementary School, a San Luis Coastal alternative school for academically accelerated fourth- to sixth-grade students, may move to a new campus next year.

Superintendent Eric Prater will ask the school board Tuesday to approve moving Teach to the old Pacheco school site on Grand Avenue in time for the 2014-15 school year. It would cost an estimated $200,000 annually to operate plus $160,000 more in one-time costs.

The proposal mirrors the recommendation made earlier this month by the Accelerated Learning Committee. That committee was appointed by Prater to find solutions for the shortage of space at Teach Elementary because it shares a campus with the growing Bishops’ Peak Elementary. The committee was also tasked with looking at how to meet the needs of accelerated learners in the school district.

“Moving Teach School to its own location will also allow them to re-evaluate their learning model and vision into the future,” said Prater in his recommendation.

The school would remain a fourth-to-sixth grade configuration, but the new location would give the school some room to grow, he said.

The majority of the Grand Avenue school site, just south of the Cal Poly campus, is leased to the SLO Classical Academy through 2018. Under Prater’s proposal, the academy would lose access to some parts of the campus it has been using, including a multi-purpose room. Those spaces are not on a long-term lease.

A handful of other tenants, including some charter schools and San Luis Law School, also rent space there but do not have long-term leases. Prater said those tenants could be relocated to other sites in the school district to make room for Teach Elementary.

“This will (give) Teach School time to consider new possibilities — especially in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) education, grade configuration and future partnerships with Cal Poly,” Prater said in his recommendation. The estimated annual $200,000 cost to operate Teach includes the loss of revenue from current leased spaces at the old Pacheco site.

In February, the district considered closing Teach Elementary in part because of the capacity limits at its existing campus, but also because some school administrators and board members questioned whether it was appropriate to provide such an opportunity only to some students in the district. Enrollment was limited this year to a lottery system because of the campus size.

Other options discussed by the school board then included keeping the school, phasing it out to allow current students to finish their time there, or closing it altogether and sending those students to Bishop's Peak Elementary.

Those options angered parents and community members who spent hours at school board meetings defending Teach’s future.

Ultimately the school board took the middle road by deciding to keep the school open until the Accelerated Learning Committee could study the issue thoroughly.

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Del Mar Elementary in Morro Bay to discuss Prater’s recommendation.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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