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State Could Control Schools

The state could take over the Greenfield Union School District or impose other sanctions if it doesn't improve test scores in the next three years.

The south county district is one of 18 in the state that failed to meet federal goals in testing for the second straight year.

"All of their (Greenfield) schools and the district itself have entered into 'program-improvement status,'" said Nancy Kotowski, associate superintendent for education services for the Monterey County Office of Education.

Greenfield Elementary School, which for the past six years has failed to meet its Adequate Yearly Progress target, also is in trouble.

Schools such as Greenfield are bound by President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, which seeks to have all students be proficient in English and math.

Maria Reyes, a consultant for the California Department of Education, said the state could do the following if the Greenfield district doesn't improve its scores:

Withhold funding.

Replace district staff, including the superintendent.

Transfer children to other school districts.

Abolish the district.
"One of the things they have to do is revise or develop an improvement plan in the next three months," Reyes said.

Greenfield Superintendent Tom Guajardo, who is new to the district, said he has already had meetings with principals of the district's four schools to come up with a plan.

"We are going to turn it around," Guajardo said.

Because Greenfield Primary School's scores plummeted dramatically, Guajardo said he is going to check with the state Department of Education to make sure the numbers are accurate.

If the scores turn out to be wrong, it's possible the district will be out of hot water, he said.

Kotowski said the county Office of Education will meet with Guajardo and district staff next week to come up with possible strategies.

Apart from the district's troubles, if Greenfield Elementary fails to turn scores around by summer 2005, the school could face a state takeover or other sanctions as early as next year.

Contact Kelly Nix at knix@salinas.gannett.com.

— Kelly Nix
The Salinas Californian


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