By Debra Moore
Elementary school students in Indian Valley will continue going to class in Taylorsville for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, but the future for high school students is to be determined.
That’s the decision made by the Plumas Unified School District Board of Trustees on Nov. 10.
Families were polled about their preferences with mixed responses, but the decisions came down to what’s best for the students and what’s even possible at this point.
While the Greenville elementary and high school buildings are still standing, the infrastructure necessary — such as phones and internet — is not yet available.
Elementary school students
Teacher Maria Johnson said, “I want to reiterate that we would really like to stay in Taylorsville this year. We don’t have to see the trauma of the fire and not to have to go into Greenville every day.” She added that moving back to the Greenville campus would be a “really daunting task.”
She received support from Trustee Dave Keller who represents the Indian Valley area. “Based on what I have been told and my observations, things are going very well on the Taylorsville campus,” he said, and it seems it would be appropriate to remain there through the current school year.
Fellow school board member Leslie Edlund agreed. “They seem to be moving forward very successfully in Taylorsville,” she said.
Earlier in the meeting school board members were shown photos of the students and their teachers outside at the Taylorsville site surrounded by greenery — in sharp contrast to what they would see from their Greenville site.
The trustees voted unanimously to remain on the Taylorsville campus for the school year. “I think this is what’s best for kids,” school board president Traci Holt said.
High school students
Some of the issues associated with returning students to Greenville High School include food service, custodians, staff, phones, and internet. (The high school staff have been assigned to other areas in the school district.)
“There are major challenges with starting at the high school,” said Superintendent Terry Oestreich, for that reason the administration recommended moving a portable to Taylorsville to provide an independent study hub for high school students. The district is working on obtaining a portable, but there are issues finding one that could accommodate the size needed and the snow load.
“Do we need more clarity on the options before we make the decision?” asked Trustee Keller. “Does waiting until Dec. 8 (the board’s next meeting) have any impact negatively?”
Oestreich said that the district could continue to pursue the portable for Taylorsville, but feared that the challenges such as internet, would remain for the Greenville campus. When the buses between Indian Valley and Chester and Quincy were halted due to bad weather and the roads earlier this fall, Wi-Fi hotspots were provided for students.
And that ongoing threat this winter is what is prompting many parents to want their children to be able to attend school in Indian Valley. They worry that the roads could be closed while their children are in another town or that they could become trapped on the highway, if debris were to come down in various locations.
At this point three students attend high school in Chester and many more are in Quincy.
Trustee Joleen Cline said, “It’s premature to say no. It’s also premature to say yes; it’s not even possible right now.” She recommended that the board not take any action on the high school and see “if anything falls our way.”
Superintendent Oestreich said, “I do appreciate the feedback and when we are able to open up the gym or library, maybe we can provide some activities for the students who live in Greenville.”
The board decided to delay a decision on Greenville High School.