Three neighbors have voiced concerns about Astoria School District's planned alternative high school.

Mother and son Tom and Donna Dulcich said at Thursday night's school board meeting that they were worried that the new students using the Capt. Robert Gray School building in the fall will impact the neighborhood in a negative way.

"I am scared to death about this," said Donna Dulcich, 81.

Gray is being eyed for the alternative school as part of a districtwide reorganization.

Donna Dulcich is a former educator, and Tom Dulcich is a Portland-based attorney who grew up in the house across the street from Gray School where his mother still lives.

Tom Dulcich stated that he is worried about traffic, litter, the school's hours of operation, and personal safety of those living in the area.

"We're very concerned about whether having an alternative school for the entire county here is being a good neighbor," Tom Dulcich told the board. "You know and I know that an alternative high school is a different use than this building has ever been used for."

Dulcich is an Astoria High School alum, class of 1972.

The third concerned neighbor was Buella Rasmussen, a teacher at John Jacob Astor Elementary School.

Later in the meeting, Superintendent Craig Hoppes reviewed the plan for the alternative school. About 30 students will begin classes at Gray in the fall, and that number could increase to 50 by the next year, if there is the demand, he said. The district is working closely with Clatsop Community College on the planned school, which would teach students currently taking GED courses at the college. Other students requiring a different learning environment would also be welcome at the school, said Larry Lockett, principal at Astoria High School.

"It provides educational opportunities for everyone on different pathways," Lockett said at an earlier board study session.

The board chose to continue discussing the location for the alternative school at its next study session, scheduled for May 28 at John Jacob Astor Elementary School.

In other board business, Hoppes said that the state's final revenue forecast for the 2009-11 biennium will be released today, and district staff could expect to be contacted Monday about which specific positions will be laid off.

Hoppes said a number of certified teachers had expressed an interest in early retirement, which could lessen the number of layoffs.

"The difference between an older and a younger teacher's salary is about $15,000," he said. "When staffing comes out on Monday, it could be pretty amazing how many jobs this could save."

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