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Letter to the Editor: Regarding plans for Greenville High School

I have submitted the following letter to the PUSD/PCOE Board Members and to our Superintendent. While I hope for solid answers to these questions, it will be hard to hold our leadership accountable or to help them create the outcomes we desire if so few of us participate in the meetings and process. May we all take responsibility and do what it takes to make our communities the best that they can be.

 

To the PUSD and PCOE Board Members and PUSD Superintendent,

I would like to start by thanking you, those of you who came to our community, for speaking with us regarding the future of our schools in Indian Valley. I think that an Ag-based CTE program is a great idea and could be a wonderful thing, which could greatly improve the education offered and feasibility of our school – so long as it is implemented while prioritizing what is best for our children first and putting a stop to the fiscal hemorrhaging which has become habitual on our campuses in Indian Valley.

I would like to have some questions answered. I appreciate your time and honesty regarding this matter.

According to the California Department of Education, between July of 2021 and January of this year, PUSD has received over $25,000,000 in ARP Act funding. (CDE, 2023) Why has the public not been informed of this funding? How much of this funding has been spent? What, specifically, has this funding been spent on? What, specifically, is the plan for the remainder of these funds?

The Plumas County Office of Education Foundation has been charged with determining the best way to spend the $2 million received from the PG&E lawsuit. Why has determining the best use for this $25 million not been given to the same foundation for the same purposes?

Your Vision Statement states “We ensure an exemplary education with diverse opportunities and we accept no limits on the learning potential of any child.” Past experience and historical data show that online learning is far less effective than in-person, synchronous learning. Given these facts, why has the decision been made to force Greenville High School (GHS) students to learn exclusively through online classes for an entire year? Why are our teachers being transferred before you have found their replacements? Do these decisions uphold your Mission Statement, “to collectively inspire every child in every classroom every day”?

The cost per student in Indian Valley schools has always been higher than in the schools of the other communities within the district. This is because we have fewer kids than the other communities. Should the fact that we have fewer kids in our community condemn our children to an inferior educational experience? Is this in alignment with your Mission and Vision Statements or your Core Values and Strategic Goals? (PCOE, 2020)

One of your Core Values is fiscal responsibility. A significant percentage of the classrooms at GHS have sat empty due to low attendance for years now. Similarly, the Taylorsville Elementary School (TES) building sits empty and unused. Why are these empty rooms and buildings being heated throughout the winter? Why has the HVAC system of the GHS campus not been updated to enable the isolation of rooms which are not in use? Your Strategic Goals state that “facilities will be 21st Century teaching and learning environments.” Is this lack of updated technology in alignment with your Strategic Goals? Is it fiscally responsible to heat empty classrooms and buildings? Is it fiscally responsible to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new paint when HVAC updates have not been completed? We the people know how much propane costs. Why is this waste of money and resources not being addressed before deciding to take our teachers away and put our kids in front of computers? It is very frustrating to hear you refer to fiscal responsibility as a basis for your decision-making while we observe so much waste.

Speaking of TES, why is this campus not being used for educating our children? Why is a facility more suitable in size to accommodate the number of students at GHS sitting empty while an oversized campus with empty rooms is being used?

Why are Indian Valley Academy (IVA) students crammed into an undersized building when GHS classrooms sit empty? Does this align with your Core Value of Teamwork? Why have PUSD and PCOE employees, who have prevented teamwork, cooperation and sharing between these two institutions, not been held accountable for their behavior? What will be done about this in the future?

If Greenville Elementary School (GES) and Plumas Charter School (PCS), GHS and IVA shared facilities and worked together to mutually support each other, couldn’t this help to save costs? Why are your decisions impacting the quality of education our children receive before you require adults to act like adults and work together?

You, the PUSD and PCOE board members are responsible for both GES, GHS, PCS and IVA. How are your schools not working together under your combined leadership? How will you take responsibility for your actions (or inactions) which have led to the segregation and suffering of our children? How will you hold your subordinates accountable for their actions (or inactions) which have led to the segregation and suffering of our children? Is this how we should expect leadership to exemplify the Core Value of Accountability and Teamwork? What is going to be done to fix this inexcusable situation?

Lastly, I would like to address your Core Value of Communication and your Strategic Goal of Family/Community engagement. Please do more of this. Please be transparent with us and allow us to help you come up with solutions. I know we are not easy to deal with. This is because we are jaded by a system that has always put the good of our kids AFTER “fiscal responsibility” and the personal agendas of administrators, board members and employees. Admittedly, we the people need to step up our participation. That is on us. Please be part of writing a new story for education in Indian Valley. That is on you.

Thank you for taking on this position of service. Thank you for all you HAVE done for our kids. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to hear my questions and concerns. Thank you for your honest answers. Please consider that more of the same old song will bring us more of the same old dance. Honesty and transparency will ease tensions and bring us to viable solutions.

Respectfully,

Dan Kearns

References
CDE. (2023). ARP Act Funding. Retrieved from California Department of Education: https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/cr/arpact.asp#eansii
See links to ARP Act ESSER III Quarterly Expenditure Reports in the Quarterly Expenditure Reports section of this Web Page.

PCOE. (2020). About Our District and County. Retrieved from Plumas County Office of Education and Plumas Unified School District: https://www.pcoe.k12.ca.us/apps/pages/AboutOurDistrictandCounty
See the “Our Board of Education has committed to the following:” Section.

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