I am writing in regards to Plumas Charter School’s forced removal from the Quincy Pioneer Campus by PUSD for the 2018/19 school year. First, I am amazed at PCS administrators who are in the midst of planning for a new campus, most likely ready for the 2019/20 school year, and at the same time working to ensure that the 2018/19 year is as successful as possible for the 180 plus students and their families enrolled at Quincy PCS. Their job is to treat PUSD’s removal of PCS as a done deal. I respect that completely. However, our job as a concerned public is to treat the removal as one option among many, and to subject it to scrutiny.
As a PCS parent and member of the community I am alarmed at PUSD’s decision not to offer a one-year lease for the Pioneer site to PCS for the 2018/19 academic year. The options for PCS sites for next year went out in a letter to families on Oct. 10, and include:
1. 493 Main Street (the old Quincy Drug Building).
2. 80 Main Street (the old DMV/Head Start Building).
3. 455 Main Street (where Environmental Alternatives is now).
4. 535 Lawrence Street (where Mountain Mattress is now).
5. Tulsa Scott Building at the Fairgrounds and 80 Main Street.
It should be pretty clear to the most casual observer that there are some serious challenges presented by this patchwork facility scheme that has been forced on Plumas Charter School children, families, faculty, staff and administration by the PUSD board. Many of the challenges can be mitigated in a positive way. Others, yet to be imagined, will likely be addressed on an ad-hoc basis that will stress faculty, staff and most importantly, students. As guardians of our community’s education system, the PUSD board should feel compelled to withdraw these potential difficulties for the 2018/2019 school year. While I have faith that PCS will survive, I have deep concerns about potential disruptions in learning, never to be recovered, that may result from the circumstances the PUSD board looks more than willing to create.
I have been in contact with the PUSD board. I was told that this was a business decision and that I should not take it personally. Needless to say, education is a public good and should not be treated as a business. Nevertheless, the business aspect was described as a result of overcrowding at the Quincy Elementary campus and the need for administrative space. I understand the board’s concern over space at Quincy Elementary. There are many ways to address this now that PUSD is sitting on $50 million in taxpayer revenue. One possible path forward that minimizes educational disruptions for our community’s children would be to upgrade the two classrooms at Quincy Elementary that had to be closed recently and/or bring in a portable for a year.
There are probably dozens of workable plans that are beyond my ability to imagine that don’t treat some of our community’s children as second class citizens. In terms of administrative space, my understanding was that PUSD would be welcome to remain in their current offices leased from Plumas County so that there would be less pressure to force PCS to vacate Pioneer for PUSD administration.
I think it would be worth considering how anyone might explain to an 8-year-old why he is being forced out of a very nice facility that he has been attending for over four years. You son, will be attending fifth grade at the old Quincy Drug location next year! Look him in the eye and explain it to him. It doesn’t feel comfortable, does it? The PUSD Board has made it clear to me that they are comfortable enough to let this be our community’s explanation, because, business. Ouch!
There is so much more to say, but to keep it brief, my plea in this letter is directed to the community of families in Plumas County who are not comfortable with having to make such an explanation to any of our town’s children. I put this to you. We are all in this together. Write to the PUSD Board and ask them to extend the Pioneer Campus lease to Plumas Charter School for the 2018/19 school year. Help them decide to be the heroes they can become!