Fate of historic Dry Creek school heats up

By: Brody Fernandez
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Audience members at the Dry Creek Joint School District board meeting Tuesday night were there to support a group’s request to place the Dry Creek School property and its fate on the agenda.

The group that made the request, Committee to Save Historic Dry Creek School, wore green and gold (the Dry Creek School colors). Dozens of Dry Creek alumni attended the meeting with green and gold signs stating “Save Dry Creek” and “Our History is Not For Sale.”

Dry Creek School, located on 2955 Pfe Road in Roseville, opened its doors shortly after the Civil War in 1876. The oldest existing building on the property today was built in the late 1930s. Due to its crumbling infrastructure, safety concerns and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues, Dry Creek School closed its doors in June 2014 and has remained vacant. Now, the property is up for sale via the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District’s recommendation and some residents want to stop the sale.

Local Roseville resident and Dry Creek alumni Stacy Robinson helped organize the Committee to Save Historic Dry Creek School.

“It is the intention of this committee that rather than meeting the obligations of their posts and honoring their commitment to the Dry Creek community, they have failed to adequately inform the public about their intentions regarding Dry Creek Elementary, nor have they sought the community’s opinion on this issue,” Robinson told the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District Board of Trustees

Robinson also brought up possible legal violations that the board violated.

“In December of 2017, there was a resolution to sell the school. The board is legally required to post the notice of the intended sale to three public places. The three public places the board chose was Heritage Oak, Creekview Ranch and Coyote Ridge School,” Robinson said. “Half of the school district is in Sacramento County; none of these schools are in Sacramento County. Legally, a public notice should also be published in a newspaper of general circulation and the law stipulates that the newspaper should be located within that school district. A public notice was published; it was in the Auburn Journal. The misinformation and miscommunication and refusal to collaborate with the community that is served needs to stop. We have to move forward with this.”

Roseville resident and Dry Creek Class of 1966 Dan Garrison also addressed the board Tuesday.

“I just find it so difficult to believe we are here having to fight for this school. This is a very unique and historical school. We’ve been called ‘Dry Creekers’ for nearly 140 years,” Garrison said. “We are proud of that name and we are still proud of that name. I’m sure you board members are good people and make a good neighbor and a good friend but I am really disappointed in all of you. This is just shameful.” 

The school district’s Board of Trustees President Bill Schuetz responded.

“We appreciate the public comment and information, and the special connection Dry Creek has to a lot of you. As trustees, we are tasked with making decisions for the whole district,” Schuetz said. “And the proceeds from the sale of Dry Creek School would go to benefit the whole district. The decision about surplusing the property was not taken lightly. It has been a well-considered decision over many board meetings. We are tasked with this large purpose.”

Immediately, the crowd erupted with a resounding “no” as multiple audience members responded with, “If it’s tasked, then you should be working on it.”

Schuetz responded, “We have been.”

Board member Diane Howe also commented.

“A couple people tonight have brought up the bond that was approved in 2007 that was meant to improve Dry Creek and we did intend to do something with Dry Creek. If any of you remember 2007, we had sort of a downfall in this whole state and this whole country in terms of the recession,” Howe said. “The county, in their infinite wisdom, said we would need to fix the intersection in order for us to build a new multi-purpose room. I don't know if you guys realize we are not in the business of building roads; we are in the business of building education. So we couldn’t do anything with that.”

“Then, there are accusations that we make plans behind closed doors. That is untrue. Any action that we take in closed session is immediately reported out in the open public. I stand by my decision (to open up bids for the sale of the school via the resolution in December of 2017),” Howe said, “and based on the fiscal responsibility that the school district has given me, I can’t afford to rebuild Dry Creek School and honestly, if I had a child or grandchild, at this point, I would not put them in Dry Creek School because of the educational and technological advances found elsewhere.”

Robinson replied, “Then you don’t belong on this board.”  

Since this issue was an information-only item at the meeting, no action was taken by the board on the Dry Creek School property’s fate. The soonest residents can find out more information on Dry Creek School will be July 19 when the district releases its next agenda.

Gold Country Media asked the Roseville Historical Society Board President Christina Richter, who was not at the meeting, about the issue.

“My hope is that history prevails and they overcome the challenge by choosing to keep their community’s historical buildings preserved and protected,” Richter said.