Sacramento city school board should restore Washington Elementary School

Councilman Steve Hansen is working with the Sacramento City Unified School District to restore the shuttered Washington Elementary School in the Alkali Flat/Mansion Flats neighborhood to the active schools list. During the spate of such closures under former Superintendent Jonathan Raymond a couple of years ago—contentious decisions that didn’t have much in the way of support from hard data—the loss of Washington left the downtown area without a public school.

The plan involves repurposing Washington into a magnet school to avoid the problem of low enrollment. That’s not a bad plan, at least to start, provided that some allowance is made for neighborhood kids who just want to be able to walk to school. In the long term, though, as the Midtown and downtown areas become more family-friendly, we can revisit the makeup of the school as needed.

The most important thing is to get it up and running.

And on the “other” school front, the vacant Marshall School in the Marshall Park/New Era Park neighborhood, has been sitting empty, surrounded by chain-link fencing, for a number of years since a charter school moved out. It’s prohibitively expensive to retrofit for SCUSD use, but Hansen and Area 2 Trustee Ellen Cochrane are actively soliciting ideas for putting the building back into use. Among some of the options are apartments—a successful transformation for some older school buildings in other areas—but whatever happens, the move to keep the school from simply rotting away unused deserves kudos and support.