Indian Valley School Closure and Consolidation Committee members were visibly drooping by the time they were ready to vote their approval Thursday, April 5, on their recommendations to the Plumas Unified School District board of directors.
The time was after 9 p.m., and member Lisa Smith had long since passed around homemade brownies to all in attendance.
This was the second time last week they had met to go over their 19-plus page report, sometimes line by line, distilling and clarifying the language, arguing a few points and finding compromise in common interests.
Their audience had dwindled to less than a dozen people, including school staff, faculty and other interested members of the community.
Most took their leave those last two nights speaking their appreciation for all the hours of thoughtful and dedicated work that committee members and their advisors had done to create the report.
Minutiae threatened to derail progress a few times, like on the last night when the topics of uniforms and a closed campus were brought up.
In the end, members cheered one another when they were finally able to give unanimous approval and cancel the final meeting they had arranged, just in case.
Their first recommendation, given the lack of a clear financial picture of the district, is to leave the schools open and faculty in place.
They list several options for reducing expenses, such as half-time principals at the elementary level and no vice principals at the high school level.
Custodial and clerical staff would also be reduced.
Currently there is an attendance clerk at the high school and one at the elementary school.
They figure one can be let go and the other can do the work for both schools.
Taylorsville Parents Club members committed to raising about $20,000 to help keep their school open.
Taylorsville Elementary was perhaps the toughest sticking point when it came to consensus.
Kest Porter and Mike Chelotti kept reminding committee members that it’s not fair to the other communities if they are forced to lose a school and Indian Valley isn’t.
But then they don’t want to see Indian Valley lose one and not another community.
The onus will be on the district trustees, yet the Indian Valley committee members hope that before making any decisions about whether or not to close schools, they will verify the projected deficit once the independent audit is done sometime in the next two months.Look for a special section, Citizens Guide to School Closure, inside the April 25 issue of your local Feather Publishing
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