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PUSD hosts a second ribbon cutting for the benefit of California Department of Education officials visiting Taylorsville on March 18 of the new state of the art playground equipment at the Taylorsville Elementary School site. Photo by Meg Upton

State reps visit PUSD and PCS elementary schools in Taylorsville

By Meg Upton

   Late in the morning of March 18, three representatives from the California Department of Education visited  Taylorsville to see how both Greenville Elementary School in Taylorsville and the new Plumas Charter Learning Center were faring since the last visit six months ago by the state superintendent.

   Both schools commemorated the day and continued the dialogues of how to best help the schools in a post Dixie Fire Indian Valley.

   The activities began shortly before noon as the three men Jake Wolf, Juan Morales, and Joe Anderson arrived from Sacramento to attend a ribbon cutting of the new playground equipment installed at the Taylorsville Elementary School site earlier in the year, (there was previously a local ribbon cutting without state representatives a few months ago).

   Juan Morales remarked at the “fantastic resilience” of the people of Indian Valley and its children.

   It was also an opportunity for the new incoming PUSD superintendent to meet the teachers and see the reality of schools in Indian Valley. The playground equipment will remain at the Taylorsville site and according to the new superintendent, the Greenville Elementary School site in Greenville will also receive new playground equipment in the upcoming school year, (the PUSD board voted to put Greenville schools back in Greenville in the for the next school year). The state representatives were also made aware of the need for additional new equipment due to the vote to move the school for the next school year. Outgoing retiring superintendent Terry Oesterich, made introductions of the teachers to the visitors, and student body leaders introduced the visitors to each grade on the asphalt before the ribbon cutting.

   After an afternoon spent at the TES site, the three representatives moved down the street to the Plumas Charter Learning Center’s new modular school building for the center’s open house. The Learning Center formerly was housed at the Methodist Church annex building in Greenville and did not survive the fire. Charter elementary students had been meeting in the Gem and Mineral Building’s giant conference room for most of the year.

   The building sports three classrooms, two bathrooms and office space and is adjacent to Indian Valley Academy where Plumas Charter’s 7th through 12th grade program is located.

   In a heartfelt and emotional speech, Plumas Charter executive director Taletha Washburn described the initial weeks after the fire and thanked those who had reached out to her to make the building—and a plan to move forward even through the devastation.

   “During this critical time [August and September 2021], so many folks came to our aide and advocated tirelessly for school and our families. I would like to take a few moments to acknowledge them and their impact on our recovery. I had no idea the profound impact people’s thoughtfulness, care and commitment would have,” said Washburn.

   Locally, she thanked the staff, students, families, Sue Weber, Hat Creek Construction, and Sheriff Todd Johns—whom she pointed out was instrumental in getting a building for the school by reaching out and calling Washburn back in August.

   “It was Todd John’s advocacy that launched our work with CalOES to get us where we are today. If it were not for him and his efforts, this would not have been possible,” said Washburn.

   She also thanked individuals from CalOES,  California Department of Education, DGS, ATCO, Tim Taylor from the Small School District Association, and Butte Charter School officials offering their experience and expertise from their situation in Paradise with the Camp Fire. She also thanked state Superintendent Tony Thurmond—who had promised her a new building back in September on a handshake outside the Taylorsville Elementary School site.

   The fresh smell of new paint and pine and fresh starts were palpable to anyone touring the facility.

Plumas Charter School’s new elementary school building was celebrated with an open house on, Friday, March 18. Those that helped make it happen were on-hand to celebrate. Left to right: John Weber, Eli Owen, Todd Johns, Joe Anderson, Taletha Washburn, Jake Wolf, Juan Morales, and Cole Glenwright. Photo by Meg Upton
Fresh paint and new building smells and a catered casual dinner by Pangea await open house visitors at the new Learning Center in Taylorsville on March 18. Photo by Meg Upton

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