Del Paso Heights School District
On March 24, 1999, the 1998-1999 Sacramento County Grand Jury visited the Del Paso Heights School District Office of Education Services, located at 3780 Rosin Court, Suite 270, Sacramento.
The Grand Jury was told by officials of Del Paso Heights School District that its jurisdictional territory has possibly the largest percentage and the greatest variety of minority students of any school district in Sacramento County. The District has four elementary schools, grades one through six, which feed into the middle and high schools of the Grant Joint Union High School District.
The District also provides a separately located campus and early childhood development program, the Morey Avenue Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). The campus has a community-based preschool and kindergarten program. The Grand Jury was told ECDC's enrollment at the time was 339 and the parents actively participate in the school's activities. This is particularly true at the pre-school and kindergarten ages, because of the high percentage, 66.1 percent, of Limited English Proficient (LEP) children enrolled at the time of the Grand Jury's visit.
The number of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) recipients and the children qualifying for the free or reduced price lunch program is staggering, averaging 71.4 and 87.9 percent respectively. The Grand Jury learned that only three other school districts in the state have greater numbers.
Special Education programs are provided at all District schools. The District particularly emphasizes outreach to the community. The Grand Jury was told that this has been of immense help in reaching the parents of children of multiple language and ethic backgrounds. District personnel emphasized to the Grand Jury that this involvement is obviously driven by the desire of the parents for their children to succeed in academic endeavors and, hopefully, obtain a better future.
The threat of the dissolution of the Grant Joint Union High School District and the potential effects upon the Del Paso Heights School District are very real, although the Del Paso Heights School District will remain an independent entity. District administrators told the Grand Jury the attendance areas which would remain, as feeders to Grant Joint Union High School District, would have a diminished tax base and an extremely low percentage of non-Hispanic whites; approximately 12 percent in Del Paso Heights School District, for example.
The Grand Jury was told that a diminished tax base will affect the District's ability to recruit and retain qualified and experienced teaching staff. Combined with the requirements recently imposed upon all schools statewide by the Legislature and the voting public, the mere ability to effectively educate the students is a major challenge. The District's ability to teach the student population is also severely affected by the extraordinary transiency in the area served. The Grand Jury was told that the District had recently experienced a student turnover rate of 150 percent at one school!
Despite the formidable education challenges faced by the District's population, the Del Paso Heights School District board of trustees, administrative and teaching staffs, and parents are to be commended for what appears to the Grand Jury to be an outstanding and dedicated effort by all.
No Response is Required.