Cary Matsuoka
Paul Wellman

A recommendation by Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka to close Open Alternative School (OAS) ​— ​a small K-6 located at La Colina Junior High School ​— ​will be heard by the Board of Education on 10/10, with a decisive vote to be cast on 11/14. Meeting with OAS parents last week, Matsuoka cited “declining enrollment and potential change in inter-district transfer policy” as factors in his recommendation, according to Lauren Bianchi Klemann, the district’s public information officer. Founded in 1975, OAS’s unorthodox educational style has always focused on kid empowerment over test taking, and its champions came out in droves last year when the district began to reconsider its viability after an audit found that OAS was roughly twice as expensive to run as a typical elementary school. Matsuoka has also shared the idea of replacing OAS with a new program at Monroe Elementary.


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