Banta school trustees review expansion plan
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jan 24, 2014 | 5218 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BANTA — Plans to expand Banta Elementary School District during the next five years were disclosed at a Jan. 16 board of education meeting, including taking over the technology charter school site at River Islands in 2015-16.

Superintendent Albert Garibaldi told the district’s three trustees that a master plan timeline laid out the steps to prepare school sites at River Islands, a 4,800-acre community being developed in Lathrop northwest of interstates 5 and 205. He said the timeline identified the district’s actions from 2014 to 2019 to provide for the educational needs of the children who would live there.

“Without a program, the (River Islands) kids will go elsewhere,” he said. “We need that growth. It’s part of our charter, part of our plan. We need to be there.”

The creator of the timeline was district consultant Tom Duffy, retired superintendent of Moorpark Unified School District in Ventura County. He said it would enable the district to stay ahead of the River Islands growth.

“You’ve been on a long journey over the last few years in the planning of River Islands development,” Duffy said. “This timeline identifies this commencement of the beginning of the expansion of Banta.”

According to the timeline, home sales are scheduled to begin in July, creating the first opportunity for Banta Elementary School District students from River Islands, which has approval for 1,300 homes in its 1,500-acre first phase and is projected to include 11,000 homes. Duffy said school officials must take that time to begin planning a proposed K-8 Banta science academy in River Islands.

That school would open in August 2015, Duffy said, at the site of the River Islands Technology Academy K-6 charter school, which opened at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year at 100 Commercial Street.

He said the district would take over the campus but would still share a portion of it with the charter school through 2017-18. At that time, the technology academy could request to stay at the district site or prepare to move to another location in River Islands.

The growth of the Banta district schools in River Islands will be based upon housing sales and demand from families living there, Duffy said.

After Duffy’s presentation, board President Frank Silva said he trusted Duffy’s guidance.

“It looks like a timeline that would be the best for Banta,” Silva said.

Trustee Joe Perry called the timeline “great” and noted that it was time to get started.

A formal vote is scheduled during the board’s next meeting, Feb. 13.

“We’re ready to execute and move forward as a district,” Garibaldi said.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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