Oldest Calif. one-room school closing

June 10, 2010 at 8:26 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, June 10 (UPI) -- The longest-running one-room schoolhouse in California, opened in 1853, will close at the end of this term, officials say.

Wednesday was the final day for the Wooden Valley School in Napa County, KGO-TV, San Francisco, reported.

"We made it through the Civil War. We made it through the Depression. We've made it through the recession. This school can make it through all of that. It can survive this economic crisis also," says parent Wanda Berger.

But in the past two years the Napa Unified School District has cut $20 million from its budget and the closing of Wooden Valley will save $100,000 more money that Superintendent John Glaser says the district needs badly.

"You have to ask yourself what is good for the most number of kids?" says Glaser. "There are no easy answers. No low-hanging fruit left."

Parents say Wooden Valley has an uncommon sense of community that sees former students coming back after they graduate simply because they connect with the school. Losing the school, some say, is akin to losing a family, KGO-TV said.

"Feels like an empty spot in my heart," says local resident Daniel Norlund.

Because of what they call a little bit of money, an entire way of life is coming to an end, locals say.

"We're not losing it. It's becoming extinct," Leanne Lohand said.

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