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Learning Post saved from cuts

Hart's independent school shows it can save district money.

Posted: March 12, 2008 1:36 a.m.
Updated: May 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Learning Post student Kerry Furniss works on an assignment during the school's Tuesday session.

 
Faculty and staff at Learning Post High School are relieved that their school survived last week's cuts to the Hart district budget, which were made to accommodate Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts to state funding of education.

The independent study high school was initially on the chopping block, but after staff and faculty pleaded with the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board to keep the school open - and provided an itemized list of savings that would allow it - the district decided to remove that campus from the list of potential cuts.

"We felt that we know the school best, and we know what we need to do to make it work on a smaller scale if need be," said Principal Jill Shenberger. "We came up with a budget proposal and sent it with a letter to the board members."

Now, instead of being eliminated, Learning Post may just have to endure some cuts to its staff and facilities. Learning Post is located in two modular buildings on the campus of Placerita Junior High School in Newhall, providing independent-study programs for grades 9 through 12.

"Students come to us who - for whatever reason - have not been successful at the traditional sites," Shenberger said. "Our goal is to get them back on their feet and get them walking again."

Students at Learning Post must meet the same graduation requirements as students at other district school sites.

Some of the 88 students currently served by the school either work full time or are involved in sports or acting programs that keep them from attending school full time. Some students have been ill, or have had an ill parent to care for, and some are students who have just moved into the area who need to make up credits.

When students heard about the possible elimination of the school, some wanted to head over to the district office immediately and talk to the board "en masse," Shenberger said. But they decided it would be better to have the staff speak for them.

"Fortunately we have a board in this district that will listen," she said.

Now that the school has been saved, everyone at Learning Post is focused on next year, Shenberger said.
"I'm very happy that the school will be here next year and hopefully for years to come," she said. "There will always be a need for alternative pathways for kids, no matter what the budget is. I don't think that will ever change."

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