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SIMI VALLEY : Board OKs Creation of Middle Schools

After years of debate and study, Simi Valley school board members adopted a plan Tuesday to create middle schools and four-year high schools in the fall of 1993.

A task force--the third group to study the reconfiguration--recently recommended that the Simi Valley Unified School District change the four junior high schools to middle schools to help students ease into high school.

Under the plan, which was approved in a 3-2 vote, elementary schools would include kindergarten through fifth grades, middle schools would include sixth through eighth grades and high schools would include ninth through 12th grades.

Board members Diane Collins and Carla Kurachi dissented.

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In middle school, sixth-grade students would spend most of the day studying under one teacher and have part of the day available for exploratory classes. Seventh-graders would switch classes more often. Students in eighth grade would enroll in a variety of classes, as they do in junior high.

The change is expected to cost the district $636,843 to start up and $402,605 a year in salaries for middle-school counselors and an additional assistant principal at Royal and Simi Valley high schools. About $177,800 in one-time costs would be used to move portable classrooms.

One-time costs could be taken from surplus funds, while some of the ongoing costs would come mainly from the general fund and state school improvement funds that the district would receive for ninth grade, officials said.

The student population on the high school campuses is expected to increase with the change. Enrollment at Simi Valley High is estimated to jump from 2,024 to 2,961 and enrollment at Royal would go from 1,755 to 2,513, according to the study.

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