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Don’t waste our time: committee wants nod on charter model

Alicia KnadlerSchoolClz
Indian Valley Editor

Before Plumas Charter School officials in Greenville spend more time working to help develop the combination public-charter option for Indian Valley students, they want a nod from Plumas Unified School District that this is an acceptable alternative.

When district administration changed in the past, charter school students were no longer allowed to enroll in traditional classes offered on the public school campus.

The process to meld the two programs together will be a complex yet promising one, according to more than one committee member who is looking at the possibilities.

And they did receive the nod from school board trustees during a special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 22, when trustees directed Superintendent Glenn Harris to provide a specialist in charter school logistics to help the group.

Committee members did not know if they would get the nod or not when they met Tuesday, Feb. 21, though they were hopeful.

School Structures and Alternatives Subcommittee member Kest Porter, former principal and curriculum director, expressed his concern that residents think this combination option is a done deal.

“It’s not,” he said. “This will take a lot of work and commitment from diverse interests to make it happen.”

“It’s a potential model that can be adopted by other communities,” music teacher Jim Norman added.

Whether or not closures and consolidations actually happen, students are already being affected.

Committee member and parent Anna Jeffrey reported that during her work on the Community Contacts Subcommittee, she has been told that Taylorsville students were bused to an event at Greenville Elementary to acclimate them to consolidation.

Not so, according to Principal Dr. Gary Stebbins, who said staff and faculty were directed not to talk about that.

The students were invited over for a special performance via Artists in the Schools, a common practice.

Comments circulated back and forth for a few minutes, with the general consensus that it must have been the closure-talk of parents at the event that was overheard.

Grandmother LaVeta Alexander related a story about how one of her grandchildren made a Save TES poster at school and brought it home.

“Whatever is happening, it’s hurting the children,” she said.

Committee members are hurting too, for information.

The request list they presented to the district almost a month ago has yet to be filled.

Chairwoman Centella Tucker said there had been some additions to the district website, but it was basically information members had already been given in their committee packets; it was not what they requested.

Requests to fill out surveys resulted in 169 responses, all before the committee began meeting.

Parent Wendy Weight and the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment were leads on this survey, available in hard copy and online.

In sharing the results, Weight said there was a common theme throughout.

People wanted a dynamic, innovative and flexible curriculum for their children, with online, vocational and other class options.

If Greenville High School closed, most respondents indicated that they would either work hard to keep it open or seek a local alternative.

Only six marked acceptance that their children might be bused to another community, and 22 were unsure what they would do.

Seven out of 10 people who wrote in a comment under the “other” heading mentioned that they would move out of the county completely.

Others wanted more accountability and stricter reviews of faculty and the availability of non-curricular class options, like sports, art and music.

There were 94 people who wanted both traditional and charter options available, and 90 people wanted a unified K – 12 option.

Only eight agreed they would allow their children to be bused out of the valley to school, while 71 would require busing so their children could participate in after-school activities, like sports.

And 49 said their children would be unable to participate in after-school activities at all if they were bused to Quincy or Chester for school.

There will be a joint meeting of school closure and consolidation committees in the Greenville schools cafeteria Saturday, March 3, at 1:30 p.m.

They will report to each other about their efforts and talk about their commonalities and how to communicate with the district board when their reports are due at the regular meeting Wednesday, March 28.


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