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Petaluma school districts consider consolidation

Not a lot of people may know, but Petaluma City Schools is really two school districts — Petaluma City Elementary and Petaluma Joint Union High School.

The districts share a common board of education, district administration, bargaining board and budget, but that may not be the case for long. A proposal to consolidate the two districts is in the very preliminary stage.

Steve Bolman, who serves as superintendent of both districts, emphasizes that the district is only just beginning to consider the proposal and is still trying to determine what the fiscal impact will be under the state's new Local Control Funding Formula, which dramatically changes the way schools are funded, giving more control to local school districts.

Funding was the underlying reason the two-district system was created in the first place. Essentially, it evolved because the district could receive more money from the state when seventh- and eighth-graders were part of the high school district than it would have — if all students, from kindergarten through high school, were in one joint district.

With the Local Control Funding Formula, the funding advantages of two districts may no longer be a factor.

"We're investigating," Bolman said.


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