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School board approves plan for class trip funds held due to COVID-19

By Angelina Wilson

Special to Plumas News

The Plumas Unified School District’s (PUSD) Governing Board of Trustees voted 5-0 on June 3 to provide graduating seniors and sixth-graders with flexible access to the funds they have raised for class trips that were canceled due to Covid-19 shutdowns.

Approving Resolution 1578 to make “Special Allowances for Class of 2020 Funds,” Board President Leslie Edlund and Trustees Joleen Cline, Dave Keller, Dwight Pierson and Traci Holt, clerk of the board, expressed understanding for the difficulties faced by local students.

Canceled trips pose funding complications

PUSD sixth- and 12th-graders had been raising money for many months to cover trip expenses such as Plumas-to-Pacific or other senior class outings and activities.

The seniors, in particular, have raised money throughout their six years at each junior-senior high school in order to provide greater resources for their graduating class programming.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus not only closed local school campuses and large gatherings for safety but also called off previously planned school trips and events here and nationwide. As the end of the school year drew near, questions and issues arose about how the funds could be used.

Chester High leads discussion

Trustee Traci Holt opened the board discussion by reading a letter from Chester High School (CHS) Senior Class President Katelyn Nielsen. In her letter, Nielsen outlined the financial dilemma from her fellow students’ perspective asking, “What to do with the senior class money we [students] worked so hard to raise and which our community gave for our trip?”

With the cancellations, seniors at CHS originally asked to donate their funds to the Chester High sober grad committee. But regulations did not allow the funds, which were held under the auspices of the Associated Student Body (ASB) account, to be donated outside PUSD.

Nielsen captured the sentiments of her classmates, their perseverance through a difficult year and the desire to receive benefit from their hard-earned money if they were not allowed to donate it. Voicing her concerns in the letter, Nielsen said, “I feel strongly the funds should be used as gifts for seniors. It would be an injustice, on top of missing out on things seniors normally get to experience, for this not to happen.”

Solutions for student access to funds

The PUSD authorized each high school to give its seniors gifts not to exceed $200 apiece from the class trip funds. This is the maximum the school can legally give, explained Lisa Cavin, superintendent of Business Services.

In addition, the resolution provides an option for high schools to buy each graduate a yearbook or reimburse them for any prepayments already made. Furthermore, students were allowed a trip after graduation, but it could happen no later than June 30.

PUSD’s sixth-grade students were in a similar predicament. The school board’s resolution authorized their funds to be transferred to the “Class of 2026” account at the corresponding high school and will follow the class until they graduate.

Though this transfer is not normally permissible, schools sought fairness for their students during the challenging school year and wished to transfer the funds to the respective junior-senior high schools with the students.

Each sixth and 12th-grader class will be able to vote on the option they choose to use from the list approved by the board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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