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Foreclosures, private schools take students from Ripon Unified

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POSTED February 12, 2013 12:40 a.m.

It used to be that more families would move into Ripon Unified rather than leave.

But that hasn’t been the case in recent years, according to Superintendent Louise Johnson.

“We’ve been concerned about the declining enrollment and the impact it has on our budget,” she said at Monday’s Ripon Unified school board meeting.

She speculated that part of the reason could be the economy, where families were forced to move out of Ripon to hunt down job opportunities.

Home foreclosures were another reason.

The second largest impact, according to Kathy Coleman, director of curriculum and categorical programs, consisted of students opting for private and charter schools.

Of the 45 students who left Ripon High this past year, she indicated that 11 relocated within the state while five moved out of state. Others went with alternative education programs such as Connecting Waters or Pace to make up units.

Five turned age 18 and dropped out.

Two students transferred to Gregori in Modesto while one each jumped over to California Connections Academy – this is the free public virtual school in Ripon – Central Catholic, Modesto Christian, and Ripon Christian, according to Coleman’s report.

The district is hoping to recoup some of the losses at RHS by filing an application to start up a continuation school.

“We have 15 students who are behind in credits,” Johnson said. “A continuation school would be a safety net for us.”

The losses were staggering at the elementary school sites.

Of the 196 students, 106 moved within the state, Coleman said.

She listed 28 going out of state, nine opting for California Ranch School, eight relocating to Gregori, and six moving to Connecting Waters. Others went to the likes of Agnes Baptist, Big Valley Christian, Delta Charter, Excel Academy, Grace Lutheran, Hart-Ranson, and Hickman Charter, to name a few.

Three students went way of home school while 10 transferred over to Ripon Christian.

Overall attendance at RUSD at this point of the school year included 14 more students (3,004) over that of the previous month (2,990) but 72 fewer (3,076) from a year ago.

The district will continue to keep close tabs on the enrollment numbers.

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