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Banta kicks RI Academy out but itll be in new campus by fall term
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Banta School District is kicking the River Islands Technology Academy out.

The board voted Thursday night to do so just seven months from the start of its second school year in August.

But the widely acclaimed school charted through Banta School District that was praised during a visit by California Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson will be up and running elsewhere on River Islands by August.

River Islands at Lathrop Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso said Thursday that a new site for a school will be selected within 30 days and construction started so that the 450 students currently attending River Islands Technology Academy will be able to transition into a second school year. River Islands has a waiting list of several hundred students.

Since it is a charter school, River Islands Technology Academy does not require a school that meets stricter state standards for earthquakes which in turn significantly slows down the review process.

Cambay Group, the developers of River Islands, will finance the school construction itself. Cambay Group paid upfront for half of the existing campus that cost $25 million with the state paying for the rest.

Banta officials intend to open their own Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) school at the current River Islands Academy site.

The Banta decision came after River Islands started exploring the possibility of asking to annex to the Manteca Unified School District. Homeowners are expected to drive a decision within the next 60 days. And even if the annexation would to go forward, it would take several years to complete.

Reasons given for such a move is to keep students in Lathrop in the same public school district plus River Islands’ high school students having to travel 15 miles one way down the heavily traveled Interstate 205 corridor to go to West High. Originally River Islands was promised they would be sending students to Tracy High but Tracy Union School District has since indicated that won’t be able to happen due to Tracy High being impacted in terms of enrollment.

Banta has one other school with 300 students although a large share of those students are transfers from Tracy schools.