School board meets Wednesday evening in Quincy
When the governing board of Plumas Unified School District meets Wednesday evening, Feb. 8, in the multi-purpose room at Quincy Elementary School, 246 Alder Street in Quincy, it will take up a number of issues related to proposed school closures.
Although the meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m., because it follows the Plumas County Office of Education board meeting, it may begin later.
Once they have approved the agenda, school board members will go into closed session to hear two expulsion cases. The district estimates the closed session will take 30 minutes.
Members of the public will have a chance to comment once the board reconvenes. A public hearing specifically for input about the district’s recommendations for Pioneer-Quincy Elementary School will follow the general public input period.
Other items related to school closure and consolidation are sprinkled throughout the lengthy agenda.
The Taylorsville Rancheria’s tribal council has submitted a resolution to the board expressing unanimous opposition to closure of Greenville Junior-Senior High School and Taylorsville Elementary School.
They say their children “have the right to a just and equitable education and know that a long commute to a high school of 1.5 hours round trip will have a profound negative impact on homework completion, participation in sports, attendance, drop-out rate, and social development.”
The council also notes that the district receives federal funds for its Native American student body.
Ken Pierson, transportation director for the district, will give a report on site-to-site costs for various transportation options, such as Greenville High to Quincy High, GHS to Chester High, Portola High to QHS, and even CHS to QHS.
At two places on the agenda, one for discussion and one for action, the board will consider the superintendent’s recommendations for certificated layoffs, chiefly teachers and principals, equal to 32.5 full-time equivalents, a bit higher than the 29 FTEs the district estimated last month.
These possible layoffs are a result of the district’s proposed school closures. By law, layoff notices must go out by March 15. The board is not scheduled to meet again until March 14, but that date may change because of anticipated board member absences.
The district estimates the faculty layoffs could save nearly $2 million.
Indian Valley 7-11 report
The board will then hear an interim report and a request for additional information from the Indian Valley 7-11 Committee.
Guy McNett, a member of that committee, told the Quincy 7-11 Committee at a public forum Thursday, Feb. 2, that his committee would be presenting an alternative to closing GHS to the school board in March.
He said the committee was collaborating with Plumas Charter School on a plan that would “save a half-million, reduce the number of teachers, provide better education, more diversity and more rigor.”
He acknowledged the task was difficult and the devil was in the details, but vowed, “We will make it work. It will happen.”
Quincy 7-11 letters
Next, the school board will hear from the Quincy 7-11 Committee, which plans to present two letters, one asking for an extension of the timeline for its recommendations (currently scheduled for March) and another expressing concerns about the district’s failure to follow best practices guidelines. Because those letters are agendized as “information” items, the board will not be able to take any action on them.
The next item on the agenda is discussion of the fate of Indian Jim School in the Feather River Canyon. PUSD has had a special use permit from the Plumas National Forest to operate the site, which includes a school building, storage shed, chain link fence, parking area, playground with equipment, a government-owned well and pump house, and access road.
The district has indicated it wants to cancel its permit. Earl Ford, Forest Supervisor, said in a letter dated Jan. 25 that, although it is usually the responsibility of the permit holder to remove or modify all the improvements, in this case the Forest Service would be willing to assume responsibility.
“The Storrie Fire Restoration Project would allow the Forest to redevelop the Indian Jim School and James Lee Campground into a site that would improve recreation, interpretation, and conservation education opportunities in the Feather River Canyon,” Ford wrote.
The board will then consider a letter from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors asking that the district “engage the Board in regard to possible school closures and consolidations.”
Independent of the board, supervisor Jon Kennedy has launched a petition, through change.org, that would ask the school board to postpone closure and consolidation efforts.
The school board will then move to action items, where it may actually vote on the recommended faculty layoffs and reduction or reassignment of certificated administrators.