You may be unaware that some significant decisions have been made recently by the Yuba City Unified School District. At the last meeting on Feb. 12 the school board voted 5-2 to move the sixth- through eighth-grade students out of Central Gaither to either Barry School or Riverbend Elementary School.  

I was the Principal at Central Gaither for 14 years and during my tenure the school board attempted to close Central Gaither at the same time that they closed Robbins School. I was on medical leave at the time, but returned to support the community and staff and we were able to save CG from closure. Your newspaper reported on this at that time. I attended the Feb. 12 meeting and have been involved with the community in attempting to prevent this recent attempt to alter the educational environment of Central Gaither. I am not aware of the Appeal Democrat staff being present at these meetings.  

Many students and community members, parents and grandparents spoke at this and the previous meeting, as well as meetings held last year regarding this topic. They also wrote letters and emails to try to encourage the board to not move any students out of Central Gaither, as it will just lead to the eventual closure of Central Gaither. I am not aware of a single individual speaking at any meeting or forum in support of moving the sixth- to eighth-grade students from Central Gaither. 

This is devastating to this school and community.  Central Gaither was established in 1922 and would have celebrated their 100 year anniversary in 2022, but now that will not happen. When I spoke to the school board I referenced a $2.2 million figure that the district said it costs annually to run Central Gaither. I asked them to clarify this for the community, but that did not happen. The school board said this decision was based on academics and not money, but when I asked the board members if they had visited and observed the sixth- to eighth-grade teachers only two members indicated they had. The board member that made the motion to move the students has not visited Central Gaither at all while on the board. He just indicated he had friends that had gone to school there.

I request that the Appeal Democrat help us to get facts as to the actual reason this decision was made. Also to help us discover the real academic disparities in programs and the disparity in costs. No data has been provided to these families, and they very much would like it. We also have questions as to what will happen with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program operated on the Central Gaither campus. It is the belief of the families and many staff members that this is just the first step to the eventual closure of this necessary small school.  Although the decision has now been made, no changes occur until next school year. It is my hope that these families can have answers to their questions, and that they are assured of all choices open to them for their children’s education. 

Debbie Everett

Retired Central Gaither principal

Yuba City

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