New high school for some students

Four rural school districts are entering into an agreement that would change where Roberts Ferry and La Grange students attend high school.

Students at the two kindergarten-through-eighth-grade one-school districts go on to Hughson High School, but the agreement would steer them to Waterford High School.

The move was targeted based on convenience, officials said.

"The decision was made basically for proximity," said George Johnson, superintendent-principal at Roberts Ferry Union School District. Roberts Ferry is near Modesto Reservoir on Highway 132; La Grange sits further east on the same highway. "We had parents who were telling us, 'We travel right past Waterford High School when we take our children to Hughson High.' "

Johnson polled families of graduates and those with children attending junior high and high school about the proposed change, and he said most support it. Those who don't can seek a transfer to Hughson High or any other high school.

Fewer than 10 students will be affected each year. Waterford High is about eight miles closer to La Grange and Roberts Ferry families than Hughson High.

Roberts Ferry students used to go to Oakdale High or Hughson High depending on whether they lived south or north of Tuolumne River, Johnson said. And Hughson High was a good fit, until Waterford High opened nearly a decade ago.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at or 578-2339. Read Hatfield's education blog at