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Changes Coming To Elementary School System
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Significant changes are coming to the Riverbank elementary school system this fall as Rio Altura reverts to a traditional school year system, the Riverbank Language Academy located on the same campus expands its enrollment and the new school of Mesa Verde opens and accepts many of the children now attending Rio Altura.

Rio Altura, currently still in session, will hold its last day as a year-round school on June 23 but when schools reopen for the 2009-2010 school year on Aug. 10 will start functioning on a traditional schedule.

Some of its students will be housed at California Avenue School until Mesa Verde opens its doors after the Christmas vacation. Mesa Verde is expected to open with about 500 pupils.

Kim Newton, the current principal of Rio Altura, has been named the new principal of Mesa Verde. Kevin Bizzini, currently a teacher at Rio Altura has been appointed teacher in charge of a shrunken Rio Altura. Bill Redford will continue as the principal of the Riverbank Language Academy, a public charter school sponsored by the school district but governed by its own board.

The new office staff for Mesa Verde is already assembling at Rio Altura but will remain on that campus until Mesa Verde is ready to open.

The Riverbank Language Academy, meanwhile, is planning to add seventh grade to its current K though sixth grade and increase its student numbers from a current enrollment of 285 to 370 for the 2009-2010 school year. RLA will take over more of the campus at Rio Altura as a large part of Rio's population moves to Mesa Verde.

And that will require busing students from the central Riverbank location of Rio Altura on Estelle Avenue and Stanislaus Street to the new Mesa Verde campus located on Mesa Street and Eleanor Avenue at the northeast edge of the school district.