By Meg Upton
“We want that campus full of kids. We want every kid in Indian Valley on that campus,” said Dan Kearns at the community led meeting on June 15 at the Greenville Elementary School cafeteria meeting about Greenville Junior/Senior High School buildings.
It wasn’t the first meeting this spring to discuss the future of Greenville Junior/Senior High School, but it was the first one that was called by the community and not the school district. The current district plan is to have K-8 on the elementary campus and have 9th through 12th grades doing mostly remote work with two teachers present, with agriculture and culinary arts continuing in a hands-on fashion.
The attendance was low—under 20 people with both retirees and residents with children currently enrolled, with none of the taxpayers in the valley quite pleased with the current district plan. Many people joined the conversation on Facebook Live to listen in and comment.
“They won’t do anything unless we put pressure on them. They’re not going to do anything unless we pressure them,” said Lindsey Buis-Kelley who was one of the speakers who called the meeting referring to PUSD. She said initially the plan was for only one teacher at the site and core subjects to be taken online, but with residents upset, a teacher was added but still core subjects would all be remote—after two years of learning loss from being remote from COVID and fire.
Buis-Kelley spoke first as a parent in the community and as someone looking to see the community thrive—a closed boarded up school will not help the community rebuild, she said. She reiterated wanting to see the campus utilized and for instruction to be in-person with a model again with Plumas Charter School (Indian Valley Academy) perhaps sharing the building or renting it from the district at an equitable rate.
There was a shared campus seven years ago but the rent and animosity at the time made moving forward in a shared space difficult. Sports last year were shared between Indian Valley Academy and Greenville High School with the bulk of athletes coming from the charter program.
Another point brought up during the community discussion was the $2 million from PG&E to the school district for fire-ravaged areas of Plumas County. The foundation set up for the funds has three voting members—two of which are PUSD employees, (the third being PCS executive director Taletha Washburn; PCS had the only school burned down in the Dixie Fire). None of the members live in Indian Valley. Many residents were wondering aloud during the meeting about why no one from Indian Valley is currently on the foundation board overseeing the funds and deciding how the funds are to be spent given that Greenville was the community hardest hit by the fire. Could that money be used toward renting the building to the Charter?
“Indian Valley parents want to use the money to assist combining GHS and IVA on the GHS campus with students able to somehow take classes from both schools or at least combine both for sports, extra-curricular activities, etc. on one campus,” said one resident in attendance.
“Why is the money sitting in a checking account and not a certificate of deposit to earn interest?” asked Kearns. Currently there’s no move on the foundation’s part to earn interest on the $2 million; residents discussed short term CDs as being a great option for the foundation to take.
“They seem to be discussing ideas for using the money for scholarships for students rather than concentrating the money in Indian Valley where Dixie did the damage,” said another resident.
Leading up to the meeting there was a good deal of opinion expressed about Plumas Charter School versus Plumas Unified School District online—an age old argument in Indian Valley with a good deal of misinformation about student requirements. PUSD requires a senior project, which PCS doesn’t require, but PCS requires a showcase project all four years of high school and PUSD does not. PUSD requires attendance, while PCS is based on work accomplished regardless of attendance. Both systems’ funding from the state is based on their individual models of delivery.
After initial presentations by Dan Kearns and Buis-Kelley, the residents then made lists of priorities and are coming up with a proposal regarding the schools in Indian Valley and what resident taxpayers would like to see to create a viable educational program in the valley for all students — regardless of which system they are in.
Another issue brought up was the significant deferred maintenance of the buildings that would need to be addressed before PCS/IVA could enter into talks of relocating back on campus. As well as the cap the district currently has on IVA (it cannot take in any more students at this time in its current location).
A proposal is expected to be generated today, and that information will be shared when it comes available.