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NEENACH SCHOOL WON'T OPEN IN FALL.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Neenach School will be shut when the school year starts because Gorman School District officials decided there won't be enough kids to make it worthwhile.

Rather than close Neenach, the Westside Union School District had decided in June to lease the school to the neighboring Gorman district for the 2001-02 school year. But Gorman administrators have decided not to open the campus after all.

``Gorman has elected not to operate the school, at least for the first part of the year, because of insufficient enrollment,'' said Lori Ordway-Peck, Westside's assistant superintendent for business services.

Officials with the Gorman School District could not be reached Thursday for comment.

The estimated 30 children who were planning to attend Neenach can either attend Del Sur School in the Westside district or transfer to the Gorman district and go to Gorman School, which is about 15 miles west of Neenach school, Ordway-Peck said.

If students choose to attend Del Sur School, Westside will provide bus transportation. If they select Gorman School, the Gorman district is not obligated to provide transportation but may choose to, Ordway-Peck said.

Westside will start its school year on Aug. 8, and Gorman on Aug. 22, officials said.

Having another school district take over operation of Neenach was one of three options the Westside district considered because of the school's low enrollment and rising energy costs.

There were 66 students at Neenach School, located near 270th Street West and Avenue C-8, with just 55 projected in the attendance area this coming school year.

The school is all-electric because there are no natural gas lines in the area, making it expensive to operate during times of soaring electricity prices.

Neenach parents and residents had opposed closing the 8-year-old school, saying it is the focal point of the rural, sparsely populated enclave in west Antelope Valley.

The school's enrollment peaked at 90 students in its first year but has declined ever since.

Before Neenach opened, students attended Del Sur School 22 miles away at 90th Street East and Avenue H. The school is 15 miles from Gorman, which has its own district with two schools, and about 30 miles from the Westside district office.

The Westside district estimated that its energy costs would increase 25 percent to 40 percent over this year.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 3, 2001
Words:386
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