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   These are a few of the stories you will find in this week's printed newspaper:

  • Not guilty plea: The man charged with first-degree murder in the December, 2014, death of a Greenville woman pleaded not guilty last week.
  • More Jefferson talk: Proponents of the state of Jefferson packed the Board of Supervisors room for the third time April 14, but once again did not walk away with the county’s support.
  • School cuts: The Plumas Unified School District is facing a $3 million budget deficit for the next school year, which will result in funding cuts in many areas.

Board OKs teacher layoffs

Delaine Fragnoli
SchoolClzManaging Editor

Plumas Unified School District board members voted unanimously Wednesday, Feb. 22, to lay off 32.5 full-time equivalent faculty positions in preparation for possible school closures and consolidations.

Bob Tuerck, of Quincy, took a long, hard pause before casting the first “aye” in the roll call vote.

After casting her “yes” vote, Sonja Anderson, of Chester, dropped her head into her hands and sobbed.

When the vote was complete, board member Brad Baker mouthed to Superintendent Glenn Harris, “This sucks.”

Upcoming Meetings
Thursday, March 1, 6 p.m.
Quincy public library
League of Women Voters hosts panel discussion with representatives from the four area 7-11 committees.
Saturday, March 3, 1:30 p.m.
Greenville Elementary School cafeteria
Joint meeting of all 7-11 committees
Sunday, March 4, 2 p.m.
Chester Memorial Hall
Townhall meeting with county supervisor Sherrie Thrall and Chester Area 7-11 Committee
Thursday, March 8, 5 p.m.
PUSD district office in Quincy
Special school board meeting
Tuesday, March 13, 6 – 8 p.m.
PUSD district office in Quincy
Public forum on California state education budget, featuring speaker Kevin Gordon, president of School Innovations and Advocacy
Thursday, March 15, 5 p.m.
PUSD district office in Quincy
Special school board meeting
Wednesday, March 28, 5 p.m.
Greenville Elementary School
Regular school board meeting, rescheduled from original date of March 14; 7-11 committees are expected to give their recommendations.
Wednesday, April 18, 5 p.m.
Portola High School
Regular school board meeting; board is expected to vote on school closures and consolidations.

Earlier, board member Bret Cook said he was “concerned about the number of layoffs. I wish we had the 7-11 committee recommendations now. There are too many unknowns, and loath as I am, we have to preserve flexibility.”

Baker agreed: “After March 15, we have no flexibility. None.” And then he made the motion to pass the layoffs.

Personnel director Bruce Williams told the board the 32.5 FTE was a “worst case” scenario as PUSD tries to close what it estimates is a $3.8 million spending gap.

A number of mostly younger teachers spoke out against the layoffs, chastising the district for bringing 19 new teachers to the district just two years ago and turning around and jettisoning them. “There was no writing on the wall at all,” said one.

They also criticized the district for proposed class sizes as large as 35:1. “I’ve never even heard of that before,” said one. Another called it “glorified babysitting.” A woman from Indian Valley noted that these teachers would be taking their own children out of Plumas County schools when they left.


7-11 reports

The board blessed two requests from the Indian Valley 7-11 committee: to pursue ways for PUSD to work with Plumas Charter School and to provide the committee with a charter school expert.

Tuerck said he would like to see all the 7-11 committees and the public get the charter school information. Baker agreed, “It may be viable in all communities eventually.” Dave Nelson, chairman of the Portola 7-11, confirmed that his committee was interested in the information, too.

Harris named a number of possibilities for an expert, including the El Dorado County Office of Education or various charter school associations.

Traci Holt, chairwoman of the Chester 7-11, presented that committee’s report, which consisted of more than 20 questions for additional information from the district.

She said the district had ignored best practices guidelines and given the committees an inadequate amount of time to do their work. Holt said her committee was not getting information from the district in a timely fashion.

She urged the board to “postpone, regroup and look at other cost-cutting alternatives.”


K-12 options

At the board’s request, Williams, in his capacity as assistant superintendent, presented a preliminary analysis of forming K-12 schools in Indian Valley, Portola and Chester.

In developing the analysis, the administrative cabinet assumed an enrollment trigger of 260 students, which is the current enrollment in Indian Valley.

Williams developed two maps for each community: one with K-12 housed on the elementary campus and one with all grades housed on the high school campus. For Quincy, he presented maps of what a consolidated elementary school would look like at each campus.

In a more in-depth look at the Indian Valley situation, Williams estimated that consolidating K-12 at either the high school or the Greenville Elementary campus could save the district $522,356 or $586,151, respectively.

Closing GHS and consolidating K-8 at GES would save an estimated $989,757.

After questions from the floor, Williams acknowledged the figures did not include a “late bus” to transport students participating in after-school activities. Williams said such a bus would cost $50,000.

The analysis can be found on the district’s website.



Following suit with Feather River College trustees, the school board voted to maintain its at-large voting method and its current district boundaries.

The questions arose after the latest census showed a shift in population in the county that left the largest area 40 percent more populous than the smallest area. Ideally the difference would be only 10 percent, at most.

Board members felt that the at-large voting method compensated for the discrepancy.

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