Lucia Mar ready for new year

About 10,400 students are heading back to school in the South County on Thursday, making students in the Lucia Mar Unified School District the first in San Luis Obispo County to return to classes after summer vacation.

Students who attend school in one of the county’s nine other school districts will start classes throughout the week of Aug. 22.

Andy Stenson, Lucia Mar’s assistant superintendent of curriculum, estimates the district’s enrollment may drop overall by about 30 students.

He’s projecting an increase in middle and high schools of about 70 students, but forecasts a drop in elementary school students of about 100 children.

“We do expect enrollment to be down,” he said. “Our hope is it won’t be down significantly.”

If it is, the district would face its sixth consecutive year of declining enrollment.

In the meantime, Lucia Mar students will see some familiar faces upon their return. All of the 14 credentialed employees who received a layoff notice last May have been brought back, said Michelle Ellis, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources.

Those employees include two counselors, two English teachers, one nurse and nine teachers in the Regional Occupation Program at Arroyo Grande and Nipomo high schools.

The district board also voted last week to negotiate with the Arroyo Grande Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department on contracts to provide school resource officers at Arroyo Grande, Lopez and Nipomo high schools and Mesa Middle School.

The bulk of the positions will be funded with about $572,000 in general fund money.

That leaves four credentialed employees — one physical education teacher and three counselors — on a “re-employment list” the district is required to maintain after layoffs. Those employees received layoff notices during the 2009-10 school year, Ellis said, and the district has not been able to bring them back.

They could return to the district should a position open up this school year, she said.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.

More info

Parents looking for information on Lucia Mar schools and schedules can go to www.luciamar.k12.ca.us (click on the “parents” or “schools” tab toward the top of the website) or call their child’s school.