SNELLING — Fourth-graders in the Merced River School District will switch from Washington to Hopeton School next fall, a move that will allow the rural district to get more funding from the state, officials said.
Merced River Superintendent Helio Brasil said about 23 fourth-graders will attend Hopeton School on Turlock Road in the Snelling area. Washington School, on Oakdale Road in the Winton area, will then serve only fifth- through eighth-graders.
To qualify for small school funding from the California Department of Education, a school district must have between 72½ and 95½ pupils, Brasil explained.
The Hopeton and Washington campuses are 10 miles apart. Both schools have ample space to accommodate the change. The division of grades between the two schools goes back to 1975 when the Hopeton and Washington districts merged into one system.
Each school should have between 75 and 85 students next fall. By switching the fourth grade, the district should receive an additional $80,000 in school funding, according to Brasil. If the switch weren't made, Washington School would have 104 students, above the allowable state amount.
Steve Gomes, Merced County superintendent of schools, said he supports the district and trustees in their decision to implement practices that are best for them fiscally.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.