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Palomar Mountain School funding bill clears important hurdle

 

Last updated 6/14/2007 at Noon



SACRAMENTO — The California Senate Appropriations Committee recently moved the Palomar Mountain School funding bill off the “suspense file,” passing the bill on a 16-0 vote, which clears the way for a Senate Floor vote as early as next week.

The bill, SB 667, authored by State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), would provide funding for the Palomar Mountain School, the last operational one-room schoolhouse in San Diego County located on Palomar Mountain. The school belongs to the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District.

In recent years, the district has experienced declining enrollment and considered closing the small schoolhouse last year. State funding was lost when the school was part of the unification of the Valley Center and Pauma school districts, which made the new school district too large to receive normal state augmentation.

Last year, district officials approached Senator Hollingsworth to carry SB 667 in hopes of keeping the K-8 school open for about a dozen students it serves who live in the mountain-area community. Closing the school would mean the students would spend at least 90 minutes on a bus each day, which becomes a safety concern during snowy conditions.

“This is wonderful news for our district and for Palomar Mountain School,” said district superintendent Lou Obermeyer. “The school has circumstances that are very unique and we feel it is essential to keep the school in full operation. We’ve appreciated the support from Senator Hollingsworth and we thank him for making a difference for our students and school district.”

After unanimously passing the Senate Education Committee, the bill was placed on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s “suspense file” last month, which is often a death sentence for bills.

“I’m happy this has bill moved off the suspense file and is able to move to full Senate consideration,” Hollingsworth said. “This little schoolhouse means so much to the people on the mountain and it is an important piece of history. We hope the bill will have continued success and, eventually, get the Governor’s signature.”

Hollingsworth said the bill would be voted on by the full Senate sometime in the next two weeks.

 

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