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Orick School facing closure due to low enrollment

ORICK- With low student enrollment, Orick Elementary School may face permanent closure next school year. The Orick School District will meet with board members and the Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools on Tuesday.

"We're in a tight spot in terms of our enrollment," said Superintendent/Principle/Teacher of Orick School, John Sutter.

Orick Elementary has eight students with three part-time teachers. The school must maintain enrollment of at least six students, but three students are moving onto sixth grade and no students are expected to enroll in the school next year.

If the school is closed the district, with students and faculty, will be absorbed by Big Lagoon School District. Students will be bused down to the closest elementary school, 12 miles away from Orick.

Sutter said the school is like a family, because teachers instruct students daily from kindergarten to sixth grade. "You do tend to slip from a teacher role to a family role," said Sutter.

"It's really a family atmosphere," said Matt Ross and instructor at the school.

Sutter started teaching at Orick school 23 years ago when they had more than 80 students. He said the school could maintain enrollment then, but more residents are finding jobs out of the area, and taking their children to school there.

"There just aren't a lot of kids in our community here anymore. It's taken a toll on us," said Sutter.