BAKER — School district officials should know in the next three weeks whether Bakerfield Elementary School will be taken over by the state, Baker Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said Tuesday night.
Bakerfield Elementary has received a grade of F from the state Department of Education for the past four years, making it a target for takeover by the state-run Recovery School District. From the 2012-13 school year to 2013-14, the school’s rating declined from 30.4 to 27.9.
If the school is taken over by the state, teachers could potentially lose their jobs, since they would have to reapply through the Recovery School District.
Joseph confirmed that negotiations are underway between the Baker School System and RSD, but he said he couldn’t provide any details about what alternatives are being considered. Any changes made, such as a takeover of the school, would be effective in the 2015-16 school year, he said.
“We hope they’ll listen to us,” he said. “We don’t want to lose the school.”
The school district has two other elementary schools: Baker Heights Elementary, which received a grade of C in 2013-14, and Park Ridge Academic Magnet, a combined elementary and middle school, rated B.
Joseph’s remarks came after the School Board meeting, during which the board voted unanimously to approve a contract with Johnette Roberts to provide professional development for teachers and administrators at Bakerfield. The training will focus on helping students improve their Common Core math skills. Roberts will receive a maximum fee of $5,000 for her services.
Bakerfield has lost students in the past year. At the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, the school had 258 students. By October 2014 in the current school year, 166 students were attending. Joseph attributes the decline to the opening of charter schools in the Baker area, including Advantage Charter Academy and Impact Charter.
Only 21 percent of students at Bakerfield are at grade level and 76 percent perform below grade level, according to the state Department of Education. In the Baker school district as a whole, 56 percent of students perform below grade level and 35 percent are at grade level. Statewide, 45 percent perform at grade level and 32 percent are below grade level. Fewer than 5 percent of Bakerfield students perform above their grade level, compared to 10 percent overall in the district and 24 percent statewide.
Editor’s note: This ar ticle was changed on Feb. 4, 2014 to include the correct school year in the fourth paragraph.