Do the parents of Fair Oaks know that when students are released from morning day care there is no supervision or control in those students arriving at their classrooms safely? That if a student decides to walk home on the spur of the moment the school site does not know it? If your children require a certain tailoring of the educational program to the student needs (differentiated instruction is the school term) those students may not get it? There are combined classes that exceed 40 to 45 students? The website reported enrollment for the district is 5400 students of which Fair Oaks is nearly 20 percent of the total? That parents and students torn from Fair Oaks in the attempt to balance enrollment has met with limited success.
When Oakdale Joint Unified School was unified in 1998 the district was to receive $2.3 million in additional revenues. It had three properties in reserve including what is now Sierra View, the Oakdale recreational site (Warnerville Road site), and the Brady property). Sierra View site had a significant financial issue that prohibited the district from selling that property and acquire a new less restrictive site. The Brady property has significant physical restriction including the site is 23 acres but is too small and narrow for a junior high and too narrow and remote for an elementary site. At the time the district bought the Sierra View site and the Brichetto land on Brady Road neither site met the basic requirements for school sites set by the State of California. Top dollar was paid for both sites. That in 1997/1998 a site in Bridle Ridge was offered to the school district with the possibility of a gift of property from the then current owners and was ignored. All of these factors, completed prior to 1994 (exception for Bridle Ridge) have significantly contributed to the current issues at Fair Oaks Elementary.
There were enrollment studies done in 1996/1997 for the unification study that indicated that Fair Oaks, on year-round school at the time because of over-crowding was projected to have the highest enrollment of all the elementary schools and for years languished. School boundaries have changed but met with only limited success. The west side of Oakdale continues to be the largest area of growth in Oakdale. Students from the Vineyard and Bridle Ridge areas must cross Highway 108 twice a day at the busiest times on Highway 108.
Student test scores and school and district ranking within the county and the state is but one, small indicator of student success. The answer to the question of over-crowding is not simply send a few more students to a school that is not the parents neighborhood school. More of the answer involves the student educational program including differentiated instruction, smaller class sizes to assure student educational, emotional, psychological, and spiritual success.
Francis L. Remkiewicz