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Despite state budget woes, Newhall district doing well

Sees ‘huge’ increase in English learners

Posted: October 21, 2008 8:27 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 
Despite an uncertain state budget and rapidly changing demographics, the Newhall School District is in good shape, according to Superintendent Marc Winger.

Parents, staff and interested community members were invited to take an inside look at how the district operates at the annual State of the District meeting Monday at Oak Hills Elementary School in Stevenson Ranch.

“We’re in good shape right now because we made cuts last spring, but we’re waiting to see what happens to the state budget,” Winger said.

The Newhall district was forced to cut around $2.5 million from its $53 million budget to meet state budget reductions. Another challenge the district faced in recent years is the change in ethnicity of the student population.

“Twenty years ago our student population was 81 percent white, and today it is 43 percent white,” Winger said. “The composition of our student population is changing while our enrollment is staying about the same.”

The district has seen a huge increase in its English language learners, Asian and Latino ethnic groups and special education students over the years, Winger said.

“Yet even with all these changes, our (standardized test) scores continually rise every year,” he said. The Newhall district had the highest Academic Performance Index scores among elementary schools in the Santa Clarita Valley last year.

After a discussion of various issues the district is facing, including challenges the district may face in the future, the group of about 120 was invited to attend sessions on topics like personnel, business instruction and governance to get an even more in-depth look at district operations.

“I thought it was an informative evening, and people seemed to appreciate getting an inside look at how we do things,” Winger said.

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