Don’t let Trustee Dwight Pierson’s easy smile and impressive collection of cute school buses fool you — the longtime Plumas Unified School District Governing Board member is all business about representing the needs of rural school districts at the statewide level.
When PUSD School Board President Leslie Edlund and Trustees Dave Keller and Joleen Cline with Traci Holt, clerk of the Board, met with Pierson at the Feb. 14 meeting in Quincy, they unanimously approved his continuing role as the district’s representative to the California School Boards Association.
“I thoroughly enjoy representing Plumas Unified at CSBA,” Pierson told his fellow trustees. “We bring the rural conversation to the discussion. Rural schools are the majority of all school districts and it’s good to bring [our issues] to the table.”
As a nonprofit organization representing elected officials who govern public school districts and county offices of education, CSBA has a membership of nearly 1,000 educational agencies statewide.
The association’s website explains that CSBA brings together school governing boards and administrators from districts and county offices of education to advocate for effective policies that advance the education and well-being of the state’s more than 6 million school-age children.
Pierson has served with numerous community boards and organizations, locally and statewide. He began his career in education in 1968 and spent the last 25 years of his education career as a superintendent of schools.
“The pressing challenge for school boards in California is adequate and equitable funding for all of [the state’s] public schools,” Pierson wrote in his CSBA application package for the delegate post he has already held for two years.
He also affirmed, “rural/frontier schools have unique challenges that impact our ability to offer quality educational programs and services.”
Pierson said he believes CSBA needs to make a concerted effort to direct more staff and resources in support of rural/frontier schools.
Through March 2020, Pierson will continue as a CSBA Delegate Assembly member for Subregion 2-C, representing both Lassen and Plumas counties.
Tiny school buses on display
On a lighter note — PUSD Superintendent Terry Oestreich thanked Trustee Pierson for his kind donation of a large part of his personal collection of school bus memorabilia. The collectibles are now on public display at the Plumas County Office of Education’s front office at 1446 E. Main St. in Quincy.
At the Feb. 28 school board meeting, a different transportation issue, not involving school buses, was also considered.
The trustees voted to amend a lease agreement the district holds with Enterprise to include another large-capacity passenger vehicle lease.
District staff advised the school board that by having large-capacity passenger vehicles available in each community, PUSD is able to accommodate field trip and athletic trip requests more readily.
“This vehicle would replace an aging, high-mileage vehicle that is in need of maintenance/repair,” said Lisa Cavin, PUSD associate superintendent for Business Services.
The board discussed the merits of specific vehicles that could handle several passengers, plus sports gear and other items necessary for trips where a school bus is not needed. Trustees expressed views that having an additional vehicle might help alleviate the need for parent volunteers to drive students and equipment to some events, or at least provide more assistance.
The members directed staff to speak with school representatives for input on passenger and gear capacity before finalizing a new lease.
The vote will result in an increase of approximately $6,500 per year in lease costs, which will be partially offset with fuel efficiency and reduced maintenance and/or repair costs, according to PUSD staff.