Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Delta Island School closes down

No one wanted to see Delta Island School closed, but it's easy to see why Tracy Unified trustees voted Tuesday to shutter the rural school.

Delta Island School is the most costly in the district to operate per-student, partly because of its small population, partly because of its environmental issues, partly because of the extra services it offers so that children are more prepared for the real world and so that parents can be more a part of their children's education — the school serves mostly the children of farmworkers, many of whom do not speak English fluently.

The trustees were damned if they did — shortchanging children who need a little extra help to succeed in school — and damned if they didn't — failing to trim almost $1 million from a budget that could see the elimination of sports, art and magnet programs.

In the face of that $14 million deficit, the dollars and cents move was to close the school and try to provide these special services to the students at their new schools.

Unfortunately, this episode proves what champions of social services have long warned about: When budget cuts fall, they usually hurt those who need the help the most.

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