ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District’s board of trustees voted 5-1 in favor of moving Atascadero Junior High School to a sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade configuration at its regular meeting on Tuesday. Trustee Tami Gunther was absent and trustee Ray Buban voted against the change.
Assistant Superintendent Kathy Hannemann said it would be until the 2015-16 school year before any students — students currently in second grade — would be affected.
The topic was brought to the board with some urgency because the school is in the planning stages for its imminent modernization which is part of the district-wide project using a $117 million bond secured for the purpose of modernizing Atascadero schools.
The issue, Hannemann said at the board meeting, was that modernization plans for the school would go one way if the school were to stay in its current seventh- and eighth-grade configuration, and a bit differently if it added an additional 300 sixth-graders.
However, the school board made its decision based on the recommendation of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
At a board meeting in January, the committee, which was made up of teachers, classified staff, parents, AJHS Principal Lori Thomas-Hicks and Superintendent Deborah Bowers, firmly recommended the switch for a variety of reasons.
There was some talk at the board meeting about deferring the vote until such time as the community could have its say on the matter, but trustee George Dodge pointed out that a committee had already been formed to do just that and it recommended the change.
“The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets,” trustee George Galvan said just before the vote.
For more information, go to www.atasusd.org. The next AUSD board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. at the district office, 5601 West Mall, Atascadero.