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Schools in Indian Valley: Status quo must change, but how?

Alicia Knadler
Indian Valley Editor

Parents, Booster Club members, teachers and other residents of Indian Valley gathered together for a community meeting moderated by Jonathan Kusel, former trustee with the Plumas Unified School District.

Also leading discussion was Guy McNett, a member of the district-wide facilities advisory group formed by Superintendent Glenn Harris.

Although Harris mentioned school closures when he first formed the group, he later tasked them with evaluating the facilities and suggesting ways to use them more efficiently.

When the current classes of seniors entered kindergarten, there were about 4,400 students enrolled in the district.

When they graduate in June 2012, enrollment will be about 1,800, he explained.

Since the mid-1990s, some of the changes in the local schools include the closure of an elementary school in the Canyon and consolidation of middle and continuation high schools.

A person from out of the area moderated the committee.

He’s an uninterested party who is experienced in helping diverse people reach consensus, McNett added.

Members have toured school sites during the past several months.

“We have two elementary schools within a couple miles of each other,” McNett said. “Both are only half full — we just can’t support that anymore.”

The committee has four main areas of concern: They are looking at consolidation of various schools, looking for ways facilities could be used more efficiently, exploring preventative maintenance versus crisis management, and they will discuss school closures.

Committee members have been meeting twice per month and will probably bring their recommendations to Harris and possibly the board in December.

Meanwhile, a smaller group of Indian Valley residents and stakeholders has formed to help McNett gather local input for this process.

Members of this group include Renee Vanfleet, Kest Porter, Jason Moghaddas, John Holland, Lisa Smith and Wendy Weight.

They will not just focus on the district issues and portended school closures; they will also explore charter school options.

One of the ideas mentioned at the forum meeting was to consolidate all Indian Valley schools into the high school facility.

There were several raised and canted eyebrows, and a few furrowed brows before discussion moved on.

The availability of advanced placement classes was also an issue, a common one for many students in Indian Valley.  The schools will open this fall, but some parents were disappointed in the lack of class options available.

The next forum meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Indian Valley Community Center on Highway 89, about halfway between Village Drug and Evergreen Market.




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