Lack of students may lead to Mariposa, California schools closing

MARIPOSA — Life as Janette Rehling knows it will change if the little school in Greeley Hill closes.

Not only will her two children, an 8-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, start taking the bus to a campus 15 miles away, but she'll lose her job. Among her many duties at Coulterville Greeley School, Rehling is a teacher's assistant — and the sole wage earner for her family.

"I don't know where they would go. Shipping them on a bus to Don Pedro is not an option," she said.

Possible school closures are rattling residents throughout Mariposa County, who say that closing the campuses amounts to ripping the hearts out of their tiny communities.

The Mariposa County School District is considering closing schools in Catheys Valley and Greeley Hill because of declining enrollment and state budget cuts, said school superintendent Aaron Rosander.

The school board will hold an informational meeting today to discuss its options, which also include the possible closures of Mariposa Middle School, El Portal School and Yosemite Valley School.

"These small schools are loved by their communities," Rosander said. "To have to close schools, it changes the dynamics. These cuts are very painful, very tragic."

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