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A full house gathered at Greenville High School on March 29 to learn more about plans for Greenville High School. Photo by Andrea Singer

PUSD Superintendent visits Greenville to answer questions about future of GHS 

By Andrea Singer

[email protected]

The community of Greenville showed up in masses to greet Plumas Unified School District Superintendent Bill Roderick on March 29 and have their questions answered regarding the future of Greenville High School.

Roderick opened the meeting by reviewing historical enrollment numbers, and stating that enrollment at GHS has been steadily declining since 1995 — recently reaching all-time lows in combination with COVID and the Dixie Fire, making it a  financial burden on the school district. The per pupil spending at GHS is nearly twice as much as the other schools in the district, $38,000 per student in Greenville, the second highest is Chester at $19,000, Quincy coming in at the lowest at $12,400.

Roderick said the low attendance and falling enrollment numbers are due to students not being interested in the classes they are being offered. Collaboration with the school board has resulted in the decision to steer GHS in a new direction instead of indefinitely closing the doors. They plan on turning the former Jr/Sr high school into a 9-12th grade, state-of-the-art, agricultural based Career Technical Education campus starting next year (2024). The hands on programs provided will set students up for success in real life trades, such as welding, carpentry, both culinary and hospitality fields, as well as ag college prep courses. Traditional educational classes will be offered online, or students can choose to attend Quincy or Chester High school.  

Seventh and eighth grades will be self contained on the elementary school campus. Their breaks and lunch will be separate from the elementary school(k-6th), details are still being ironed out amongst staff members.  

The athletics program would also be making big changes. The School Board and Indian Valley Academyl are working together to have IVA take over the sports programs (85 percent of players currently come from the Charter program), as well as supplementing the cost running the athletics programs including maintenance, travel, etc. Students from both IVA and GHS will play on sports teams together, on PUSD facilities. 

Although the program at a glance sounds like a great option to keep the school alive during the rebuilding process of the community, many have doubts.  JC Eaglesmith is one of the citizens who vocalized his doubts, stating, “Some of what you say sounds okay, some I am putting a shield up on, it kind of sounds like an Indian Boarding School. Choosing vocational jobs for our children. There are other options to not only enhance the recovery of the Greenville community but our center of Greenville High as well . One option is to petition the University of California board of regions to bring an agricultural based University of California campus right here to Greenville.”

Sierra Washington expressed her opinion stating,”I am a fan of the plan if the big scale plan if it’s going to help our communities, but the 2023-2024 school year is a big fat gaping hole of not functional, successful online learning. None of our kids did well online learning during COVID, in fact no kids, not in the state or the country did well with online learning. So what else can we do besides bus our children on dangerous roadways, for multiple hours a day to Quincy or Chester(leaving them unable to play sports or participate in extra curricular activities), or lose them to other districts like we have lost other families? What can we do to support them in person? What can we compromise?”

Questions concerning the $2 million  given to the school district were addressed by Roderick claiming, “In terms of public projects, $2 million doesn’t go very far. We have to address the problem, and the problem has existed since before COVID, and before the Dixie Fire.”

Another concerned parent begged the question, “how does this program, that sounds amazing, actually going to save us money?” Roderick responded by clarifying there will be a point where they only can afford to have three full-time teachers, half of what they employ now. He followed up that statement by saying,”I will make the same commitment to you, that I did the staff, if in 15 months when we open our doors, if there are only 12 kids, we will still open the doors. The other three teachers have been transferred to Chester because that is where their credentials are needed.”

The meeting ended promptly at 7:15 p.m., leaving many questions unanswered publicly, but concerned citizens were allowed to write down their concerns, comments and questions to have answered at a later date.

Plumas Unified School District Superintendent Bill Roderick listens as JC Eaglesmith comments on plans for Greenville High School. Photo by Andrea Singer

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