From left: Taletha Washburn, executive director of Plumas Charter School; Lisa Cavin, PUSD chief business manager and Terry Oestreich, PUSD superintendent answer questions from the PUSD board regarding the complicated process of separating the PUSD and PCS on March 14. Photo by Steve Wathen

Charter school change going forward step by step

The Plumas Unified School District and Plumas Charter School began the process of obtaining an amicable divorce.

PCS is seeking to leave the PUSD and join the Redding School of the Arts located 130 miles away in Shasta County. PCS students will stay and continue to be taught in Plumas County.

A special district meeting took place March 14 when the school board began going through the draft exit agreement between PUSD and PCS line by line.

Board members made comments on lines of the draft that they had questions or concerns about. All of these remarks involved legal language.

For instance, the Redding School of the Arts is part of the Columbia Elementary School District in Shasta County. Yet, the only parties to the agreement are PUSD, PCS and the Redding School of the Arts.

Board member Traci Holt cautioned that the board had not yet had a single conversation with the CESD board about the move: “I feel there should be some sort of conversation,” Holt stated.

Part of the agreement is that PUSD will pay PCS an amount of money to make up for any drop of revenue caused by its moving to a different school district. PUSD believes it will come out ahead monetarily with PCS’ move to Shasta County.

Board President Leslie Edlund concurred noting, “We will be writing a check to the Redding School of the Arts and the Columbia Elementary School District.”

After the meeting, the board’s questions and concerns were given to PUSD’s lawyer to address. PCS’ lawyers and the Redding school will then respond to PUSD’s concerns.

Edlund estimated that the process of working out the agreement might take over a month.

PCS would likely transition to the CESD in June 2018, so the whole process will take some time.

Meanwhile, both PUSD and PCS are putting the interests of the students first.

Taletha Washburn, executive director of PCS, said, “This possible change in school districts will have no negative impact on Plumas Charter School students at all.”

Washburn also stressed that this joining with the Redding School of the Arts and CESD is only in its exploratory stages, there are many negotiations and steps to go through.

Both schools agree that separating PCS from PUSD will give both systems stability and the chance to focus on their own students and programs.